Final chord for iconic music store

The final chord is set to play with Dave Cleves Music Mount Gambier hanging up the microphone after a respectable 58 years in the business.

The original store built the foundation for the Dale Cleves Music Group franchise expanding to 10 other stores across Australia including Dale Cleves Music Store in Warrnambool.

The company has wrestled with the decision to close for the last year or two but was unable to make a longer term commitment when the lease came up for renewal.

Dale Cleves Music Group national operations manager Craig Maria said the reasons for closing were multifaceted including an increase in online sales, increased expenses and a downward trend in sales locally.

Mr Maria said the store stayed open despite unsustainable trading conditions because it wanted to continue to serve the community.

“We wanted to see if we could find a way through and do the right thing by the community, our customers, our staff, our heritage, everything,” he said.

“Even then, we had to do a lot of soul searching to decide whether we might stay anyway regardless of the numbers but unfortunately it just did not make sense in the end.

“We have been a part of the community since 1964 but there comes a point where you sometimes have to make difficult decisions based on financial realities and that is where we got to.

“The consolation is the name lives on and even though we will not have a physical presence here in Mount Gambier anymore, we are helping more people with their love of music than ever before and can continue to do that both through our other stores and online.”

Mr Maria said every child who walked through the doors and bought their first instrument were among the biggest highlights in the store’s long history.

“It has been special to talk to customers who came back over the years and bought new instruments and told us how they were going on their musical journey,” he said.

“We are a business, but we are all genuine music lovers and being able to help people discover their own love for music and develop their own abilities is what it has been about.”

When asked how the store supported the community while in business Mr Maria said even though they were music lovers it probably was not the time to be blowing their own trumpet.

“We would much rather focus on the fact the community has supported us for so many years and how grateful we are for that,” he said.

“We have had so many amazing customers over the years and their support is the reason we have been around as long as we have.

“As you can imagine, there is simply not many non-capital cities that have dedicated music stores anymore and it is a testament to how fantastic and loyal our customers have been that we have been here since 1964 when plenty of others around the country called it quits years and even decades ago.

“It is because of those customers that we have been able to build the group into what it is today so we will be forever grateful to every single customer – whether they bought a grand piano or a set of guitar strings from us.”

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