Music stops as retailer bows out

END OF AN ERA: A passerby stops to read the liquidation sign at Everyman in Hardy St Nelson.
END OF AN ERA: A passerby stops to read the liquidation sign at Everyman in Hardy St Nelson.

Everyman, Nelson's 39-year-old music store, has closed, no longer able to survive in the digital age.

The company, owned by Greg Shaw, has been placed in voluntary liquidation, with a final clearance sale to be held at the Hardy St store next week.

"It's probably one of the last music stores in the country, because technology has wrecked that kind of enterprise, with downloading for free," liquidator Geoff Falloon said.

"Much of it can be put down to technology. It's not a viable proposition."

Sales had declined sharply, even to a fraction of what they were last year, he said.

Shaw, whose Atawhai home is empty and for sale, could not be contacted for comment. He had called Falloon in on Monday, the end of the financial year.

"I have met with him earlier. Finally, yesterday he called me in and said this was the course he wanted to take," Falloon said.

He could not say what had clinched Shaw's decision. "It was probably another $100 day or looking at an empty shop."

Directors of companies needed to take their duties seriously about whether trading was benefiting or damaging creditors, Falloon said.

One of the creditors hurt by the liquidation is the Off Broadway Performing Arts School, which is due to perform a non-profit production of the musical Next to Normal at the Suter Theatre from Friday.

Director Tami Mansfield said Everyman had sold 90 tickets, which meant a nearly $2000 loss for the production.

She said the store started selling the $20 tickets two weeks ago, and she was shocked to learn yesterday that Off Broadway would have to join the list of unsecured creditors. The show would go ahead, but the loss was significant.

"It's already hard enough doing [the show] not for profit," house manager Adele Tunnicliff said. "Everybody is positive, but it's pretty bad." Falloon is compiling his first report to creditors, which he expects to release next week.

"It's kind of sad, because I grew up in the early 70s, when Everyman Records were a bit of a Nelson institution," he said.

He recalled buying his first record there - a Santana album. "My Dad said, ‘Why are you wasting your money on that?'."

Everyman opened in 1975 as a secondhand book and record store, started by Nayland College teachers Mike Beveridge and Darryl Kennedy.

Christine Cachmaille (now MacKenzie), who later became a partner in the business, recalled its heyday in the 1980s and 90s. Nelson fishermen would come in and buy 30 CDs at a time, she said.

"It's sad it's going. It was a social focal point - it's where people arranged to meet each other. On a Friday late shopping night, it was chock-a-block."

Falloon said he understood Shaw had been with the store for 28 years. "It's not a bad record."

The premises, now up for lease, remain full of stock and shop equipment, ready for the liquidation sale. The proceeds would go to creditors, who included suppliers and Inland Revenue, according to their ranking, Falloon said.

Shaw's other company, Migraine Distribution, which distributed CDs to Mitre 10 stores, had also gone into liquidation, Falloon said.

Many Nelson retailers were struggling, he said, and he believed a performance venue would help to attract more visitors in winter.

"We just seem to be falling behind other similar-sized centres in terms of luring those visitors here, and it has downstream effects on retail, accommodation and everything."

The Nelson Mail