Real Groovy’s building at 492 Queen St is set to be demolished early next year to make way for an apartment block. In a post on the business’ website, founder Chris Hart said the Queen St premises had been “an amazing location” but it was time to move on.
“It’s a huge space, it’s a great old building and it’s on Queen St.”
He shared some of the building’s history, saying it was built to house a car dealership in the 1920s. During WWII the basement was used as the Metropole Ballroom, and in the 1970s, a retailer selling camping goods moved in. After a “brief spell” as a market during the 1980s, it sat vacant until Real Groovy moved in in 1991.
The record store, which also sells books and pop culture memorabilia, shares its space with vintage clothing retailer, Peachy Keen; Atomic Espresso and hi-fi store, The Listening Post. Hart said at the company’s 30th anniversary in 2011 that the model for a half-acre record store no longer existed, so Real Groovy looked to gather complementary businesses around it to preserve its value as a destination.
Hart’s business partner Marty O’Donnell says Real Groovy won’t be leaving their premises until January next year, and are looking for a site as close as possible to their existing one.
The company posted an image on its Facebook page appearing to depict the proposed apartment block. The image has been connected elsewhere online with a proposed development called Queens Square, but links to the developer’s website appear to no longer work.
Queens Square will reportedly contain 226 residences and nine retail stores.
“This is an opportunity to reshape the business,” O’Donnell says. “We still want to carry the same range of music, movies, books, pop-culture merchandise and other weird stuff, and we’ll continue to grow the range of vinyl and turntables.”
Sales of LP records instore have more than doubled for each of the last five years, overtaking those of CDs. Hart and O’Donnell say this is part of a worldwide trend.
The pair said that after some tough years following changes in the music industry, combined with the effects of the GFC, Real Groovy turned a corner in 2012 and has been experiencing steady growth ever since.
They have released a joint statement addressing the growth, and the impending move: “It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff, and the loyalty of our customers, that we have managed to grow the business into a healthy and strong position where change such as this doesn’t faze us. In fact, we’re looking forward to the next stage in Real Groovy’s evolution.”
Customers weighed in on social media with their memories of the much-beloved record store.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔 #realgroovy— awkward orchid (@awkward_orchid) June 9, 2015
The memories of crate digging and meeting random people on a parallel journey in music. #realgroovy— tama (@tamafro) June 10, 2015