AFTER three decades of supplying swing and jazz music the final note is set to sound for a Birmingham city centre record store. The Record Centre, in Loveday Street, will close its doors for the final time in May, although specialist jazz and swing records will still be available from the owner via mail order. The news follows last year's closure of Reddington's Rare Records and last week's demise of Birmingham's Music Zone stores.
Internet music-buying has had a devastating effect on the whole industry, but owner Ray Purslow said an ageing audience for music of the 40s, 50s and 60s is partly to blame for his shop's closure.
"Many of the customers are pensioners and they don't want to travel into town," said 67-year-old Ray, from Selly Oak. "Many find it too expensive to buy CDs."
Ray added that he relied on a regular clientele as there was little passing trade in Loveday Street. "People from Birmingham tell me the shop is hard to find, but I have customers coming from abroad who have no difficulty locating us. And on Saturdays there is plenty of parking round here. "You can't underestimate the value of visiting a shop like this where customers can listen to the music and talk about it." The Record Centre has a worldwide reputation for supplying hard to find records, both on CD and vinyl. Ray has mail order customers in Australia, Brazil, India, Israel, Hong Kong and Japan.
The mail order side of the business will continue from Ray's home, with help from wife Jill. He is currently selling off some of his stock at half-price as he will have limited storage space when the shop closes. Growing concern about the number of independent traders disappearing from our high streets has prompted the Birmingham Mail to launch a Save Our Small Shops campaign with Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. Hundreds of local traders have signed a petition which is currently being used as evidence in a Competition Commission investigation into whether supermarkets and giant chain stores are squeezing the life out of small shops.