Virus forces music shop to close after more than 30 years
PUBLISHED: 13:44 23 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:57 23 October 2020
Two professional musicians have announced they will be closing their music store in Norwich with “heavy hearts” as a result of the pandemic.
Chris and Anne Duarte, owners of St George’s Music Shop, confirmed that the pandemic has been the final straw for the site which has been open for more than 30 years.
The pair will continue to trade until July 2021 – seeing the last round of students through their music exams.
The shop specialised in sheet music and accessories but was squeezed out of the market by online shopping.
Mr Duarte said: “With the rise of online shopping and then the virus it just got harder and harder. The street outside is empty because workers aren’t in the city centre and we rely on passing trade for about 60pc of our sales.”
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However the pair have many fond memories of time having opened in 1987.
“A highlight for us was just meeting so many of our customers. We would see children coming in for sheet music for their first instruments and then 10, 15 years later they would come in to tell us they’re off to music college,” Mr Duarte said.
“It was just small things. We used to have parents coming in with a violin bow strong too tight or a reed which had snapped. I’d put a note into the case reminding their child so when they got home they had a surprise – it always made them laugh.
“It was just a joy to see people discovering music. You don’t even have to be very good to enjoy it as a break from whatever else is going on. Customers would tell us how lucky they felt to be able to practise and learn – it was a privilege to be a part of that.”
The pair are both from musical backgrounds, with Mrs Duarte playing the organ and piano and Mr Duarte joining and teaching choirs.
Mr Duarte said: “We have never had a business loan and would never operate beyond our means. So when we open and don’t see a customer for hours we’re just sitting there twiddling our thumbs – it’s not viable.”
- In order to prevent more shops closing as a result of the pandemic, this paper has launched the Shop Local campaign encouraging readers to spend their money with independent retailers. To find out more, click here.
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