Windsor is fast becoming known as a bustling hotbed of musical activity, and Moe's Place Music Sales is right in the thick of things.
Now under new ownership, the proprietors of the Gerrish Street store hope to continue building upon that reputation.
“We want to continue the legacy of Moe's Place Music and do new, exciting things with it but still keep... the same philosophies that made it successful to begin with,” says Jake Smith, who co-owns the store with Heather Donohue.
“I think it's a very important part of the community to have a music store here. And it's not just the retail things that we offer. It's what we offer the community in terms of giving artists places to play and Jake's teaching. That all needs to continue,” Donohue noted.
The duo officially took over Aug. 1 after Edgar Card and Willard Wood retired.
Card and Wood initially purchased the small shop in June 2001 from Moe Brown. Already retired from their day jobs – Card was a police officer and Wood was an industrial electrician – the duo continued to foster a love of music through their store.
“Originally why I, myself, got into the business was I wanted to be part of a community. I wanted to work in our community. I wanted to make the place I lived a better place for young people to grow up, for people to live,” said Wood.
Over 13 years, Wood and Card said they had the opportunity of watching aspiring musicians come into their own, growing up right before their eyes. Though it's something they will miss, both Card and Wood said they were sure the small company would thrive under the new owners.
“They have the energy and the foresight and the interest I think that's necessary in a music store,” said Card.
“It feels great because I have the confidence that the store is going to be kept going and that it's in good hands,” noted Wood, who has worked with Smith since 2001 and Donohue since she signed on last year.
Smith, of the Fed Pennies, is definitely no stranger to Moe's as he's been giving lessons there since 2000.
“I can still remember the day I came into Moe's store. I was going to drive by it and at the last second, I put on the brakes, (and) ran in to check it out,” said Smith. He met Brown, started talking, and was offered a job.
“He gave me 10 students to start off. It was a day that changed my life forever.”
Now part owner of the store, Smith says they have big things in the works.
“Moe's Place supports local music but we want to open up our store for in-store performances; (having) artists coming through town and on tour that can come in and play,” he said.
The store will soon be relocating back across the street, near Mermaid Theatre. They are expanding their product lines, increasing the space for lessons, introducing a rock band camp on Fridays for youths, and selling local CDs and merchandise in hopes of promoting local stars.
“My hope for the future of this store? I want to see it be the most successful music store in the Maritimes. I want it to be a name that is associated with nurturing our culture and music industry in Nova Scotia." Willard Wood
“We really want to make this the place where everybody talks about how big the music scene is in Windsor. We want to be part of that,” said Donohue.
Wood said he has high hopes for the store, which has been receiving some attention as of late for being in the forefront of promoting local talent. Most recently, they helped organize the musical component of Avon River Days, hosting a well-attended street dance as well as other shows.
“My hope for the future of this store? I want to see it be the most successful music store in the Maritimes. I want it to be a name that is associated with nurturing our culture and music industry in Nova Scotia,” said Wood.
The store will be open for business while the relocation efforts take place, and will be officially open in their former location across the street on Sept. 5.
A grand re-opening of Moe's Place Music Sales is in the works for October, which Donohue promised will feature plenty of talented performers and giveaways.