INVERELL’S Black Dot Music has fallen victim to the challenging retail environment.
The shop is the local outpost of the main store in Armidale and owner Tony Elder said the decision to close Inverell had been very difficult, but unfortunately inevitable in the face of today’s economy.
Black Dot’s presence began in 2011 as a Saturday kiosk at the Inverell campus of the New England Conservatorium of Music on Moore St.
The kiosk sold strings, reeds and assorted music equipment to meet local needs.
The initial response was positive, and Tony thought establishing a shop in the CBD would be a good investment.
The first store was opened across from Coles on Byron, but moved up the street to its current location at 147 Byron St mid-year. Building on the idea of making music available in all kinds of ways, the space next door was leased to add a studio space for local music teachers to give lessons in guitar, bass, drums, piano and violin.
Doug Mather has been the front man for the Inverell store since it opened in January of 2012.
The atmosphere Doug has created in the shop of customer care, advice and attention earned him the Joblink Plus Inverell Proud Award for overall customer service in August of this year.
What started out as a store with instruments, music and supplies has transformed into a haven for aspiring and seasoned musos of all ages, and a gathering place for the community.
“Well, the shop has grown from just being people coming in to buy a guitar, to a lot of people (who) come in just to sit and chat and talk about music, or this or that, or whatever. It’s become a bit of a drop-in centre for musos,” Doug said with a laugh.
Young musicians have gained experience as work-experience students, giving Doug a hand with the customers after school.
Dominic Gibson teaches music at Holy Trinity School and is one of a few local educators in town who frequent Black Dot.
“Every year we have kids who decide to take up an instrument and we point them to Black Dot who have a history of really good service in the town,” Mr Gibson said.
He said other music teachers in the community would agree that the shop had been valuable.
“People being able to buy a clarinet reed, or a music stand, the beginning piano book and everything else, you know, that just facilitates it, makes it easy if you’ve got that in town,” Mr Gibson said.
He said Doug had been a resource and encouragement for anybody who walked in the shop.
“I’m in there every fortnight I reckon, to ask him about this or that.
“He’s encouraging music in the town for the sake of the music.”
Doug has no plans to leave town and said he would still be a part of the music scene, supporting local musicians and playing around the region.