Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Today there was an article in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix about the closing of HEL Music, which I mentioned on here last week. Unfortunately the article is only available online to website subscribers so I can't provide you with a link. (That seems to happen a lot with Star Phoenix articles I'd like to present here, much to my annoyance.) Owner/founder Ralph Johnstone states that his closing the store is simply for personal reasons and not market ones. In fact he says this year has been a great business year, with sales and profits up. The HEL building, which Johnstone owns and had built specifically for HEL, has been on the market since January, predating Long and McQuade's move into their new Saskatoon "big box" style home on 43rd Street. It has finally sold to the owners of Outter Limits , a Saskatoon outdoor clothing and camping equipment store also located on Broadway Avenue. Johnstone has simply decided he'd prefer the winters in British Columbia to those in Saskatoon. It must be nice to be in a situation where you can make such a decision when you feel the time is right. He also notes that although HEL Music was too big for a takeover by its employees some of them are considering starting their own musical instrument retailer sometime next year.

The HEL building has housed a number of other musical tenants over the years. Currently Ed's Musical Instrument Repair is next door to HEL Music on the street level of the building. Upstairs is the Vinyl Diner, a new and used record and CD store. The space they occupy had for a number of years housed Audio Art Recording, one of Saskatoon's recording studios. At one time HEL had their consignment room upstairs, and it was interesting to climb the rather steep stairs needed to get there. I always wondered how they got some of the heavier and bulkier stuff, like large keyboards and speaker cabinets, up those stairs.

No comments: