PHOTOGRAPH BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
Keeping the students playing makes Jamie Ruetz happy. It repairs, sells, and rents violin-type instruments to support school orchestra programs in Sarasota-Manatee. “I work with student families to find a financial solution that works for them if they want to own an instrument,” explains Ruetz. “The school system is doing a good job of getting the instruments into the hands of the students in the schools themselves.” Ruetz plays saxophone, double bass, banjo and electric guitar, and has performed with the Sarasota Pops Orchestra and Strings Con Brio. He went to college for mechanical engineering and initially pursued a career as an engineer in the automotive industry. He embarked on his current business venture in 2014 when it became clear that the demand for this type of work exceeded his expectations.
“I discovered that there was a need for this type of service in our region and I sought training to fill this need. What started as a moonlighting business quickly turned into a full-time business, and I quit my day job to start this business,” says Ruetz, adding that he also works with private clients outside of the school system. “Seven years later, the business is thriving and I look forward to future expansion plans.” Ruetz also designs, manufactures and sells tools for use by other professionals in its industry. This part of his business has a global reach through an established distribution network, and the Triton brand has become well known in the violin making market.
“The most rewarding part of this job is that I help students stay interested in music, albeit mostly without their knowledge,” says Ruetz. “This requires regular maintenance and proper configuration of the instruments. The easier an instrument is to play, the more likely the student will stick to playing music – or so I like to think.