The times they are a-changin’ for the music industry in Oamaru.
On April 18, Oamaru’s Mainstreet Music officially closed its doors, ending the building’s history as a music store dating back to the early 1900s.
Deirdre McNulty, who owned the business for the past 10 years with her partner, Mark Renalson, said the decision to close was tough.
“We have a lot of sentimental attachment to the shop; we both bought our first guitars here,” Ms McNulty said.
Ms McNulty said the rise of second-hand and online markets for instruments meant Oamaru no longer had the population to support a niche store like Mainstreet Music.
She said it was the people she would miss the most.
“The joy on their faces when they come in to get an instrument, and when they come back later and say how much they enjoy it, has been great.
“We have had some tourists that have come in and made some great music; there have been some fun impromptu jams over the years.”
Ukuleles had always been a big seller and Ms McNulty is involved in a ukulele group in Oamaru.
“They are such a happy instrument that brings joy.”
She noted that whatever music was popular at the time created a flurry of sales.
“When Mumford and Sons were big we sold lots of folk instruments, when it was Taylor Swift we sold lots of acoustic guitars to teenage girls, and Ed Sheeran had people looking for travel guitars.”
Ms McNulty and Mr Renalson will continue to be involved in the music scene locally – both are members of local band Dee May and the Saints, and Mr Renalson plays in Johnny and the Cashtones.
The pair will remain in Oamaru and continue to run their sound hire business from home.