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Music dies for troubled store

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 05/08/2014
Paul, Ben, Sam
Simon Maude

I'VE HAD ENOUGH: Monster The Who fan and record shop owner Paul Zwaig, centre, with his sons Ben, left, and Sam.

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The first words out of Paul Zwaig's mouth establish his musical allegiance.

"I'm a huge fan of The Who," says the forever Mod, Londoner, truckie and record store owner.

But not for much longer - Zwaig is closing down his Browns Bay shop, My Generation Music Store.

He's had enough of losing money, but the reason why the North Shore's last independent record store is closing down "will surprise you", Zwaig says.

"You think it would be music sales on the internet or from The Warehouse, but it's not."

In 2009 Zwaig bought the then Marbecks franchise, which he eventually rebranded after the beleaguered chain sold off its stores.

"I had no retail experience and even the guy who owned the store asked me, ‘are you mental?' ", he says.

He was determined to make it work and it did for a while, Zwaig says.

What eventually killed his seven-day-a-week business, Zwaig is convinced, was the drying-up of foot-traffic from the closure of the nearby Farmers store and a lack of parking.

"I've lost every dollar I've put into this business," he says. "We're all looking for jobs now," Zwaig says.

The shop name speaks volumes about Zwaig's nostalgic defence of his cultural roots. "My Generation" comes from an album and song title from the legendary British rock band The Who.

His store is littered with little kicks in the shins to the contemporary pop music industry.

The "One" in a poster for pop group One Direction is crossed-out and replaced with a "NO".

He adds, "we've also been Justin Bieber-free since 2009; we won't be wasting any money on Bieber or One Direction.

"I do have limits. If you ask for Bieber I'm going to try and sell you Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd because that's the way it should be."

Paul Zwaig treasures his employee sons - Ben, 20 and Sam, 22 - and credits them with keeping the record store open and his spirits up.

"The best thing about working here was working with my kids," he says.

Zwaig and sons have to be out of the store by mid-August.

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