Sadly earlier this week one of my local music shops closed its doors for good. Mid Air Music of Chatham is no more. :-(
* 1 minute silence *
Sad days - I've bought a few things out of Craig's emporium over the 6 years it'd been in existence, notably my PRS CE22 (huge bargain) my Hughes & Kettner Statesman Dual 6L6 combo (another bargain) my Yamaha CPX 500 and some mics, pedals etc.
Sadly all too many shops on the High Street are closing, my favourite hardware and ironmongers store closed down.The last time I was in both the writing was on the wall. Stock levels down, things you'd expect not for sale and just me lonely punter wandering around with little money to spend in them.
But it is a complex issue isn't it. Craig at Mid Air tried to have a quality music shop for our area - i.e. he stocked things like Blackstar amps, H&K, Carvin, Vigier guitars, Mayones guitars, Warwick basses etc. Now I applauded the effort but... how many people need a 100W stack? How many can afford one! How many people will pop in and just go - "oh look a Vigier at only £1,800. I'll buy that". Sadly if you have money like that London is only 45 mins up the line and you can hit several shops with a wide selection to make your choice from.
We still have Manny's Music in Chatham. Manny's is a mix of new/secondhand CD store on the ground floor and guitar emporium upstairs. Now Manny does stock some good stuff, Ltd's, Ibanez, Fender's (normally from the cheaper end) and a good selection of Tanglewood acoustics, cheaper Martin's, Yamaha etc. However, it is normally all lower to mid bracket - I understand why ... that is simply what he can sell to the punters in the area and therefore Mid Air and Manny's complemented each other to a degree. Will Manny now look to stock Vigier? I doubt it there sadly just isn't the money in it. I do hope Manny's continues though - you need local shops like these to ensure that people locally have access to instruments, advice etc. If they all die what then? Oh yes - bargain of the moment at Manny's he has an LL11 - like the one I just fitted the Fishman in - going for about £275... I bet he'd be open to haggle on that. Frankly a bargain that I can't believe has been on his wall already as long as it has - people ignore the second hand bargain whilst eyeing up a respectable new Tanglewood which I guarantee the Yamaha could see of with one hand behind its back!