Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Real Groovy moves this week

Real Groovy - were moving poster, January 2023

Real Groovy Records announced last month on it's social media it was on the move. They are shifting to midtown Auckland on Thursday and opening at a new spot at 19 Victoria St West on Friday 27 January, above Countdown supermarket. Unlike their last move 3 years to ago, this one is by choice. 

Their previous location at 369 Queen st is now a block of apartments (an office block conversion), as is the location before that at 438 Queen st, across the road. They've moved three times in the past seven years.

The new location is a bigger space, and will have everything on the same level, with a live artist space and a museum.

The Spinoff reports that "By now it’s moved so many times owner Chris Hart has nearly lost count ...“We don’t have to move,” he admits.

"Instead, it’s a shrewd business decision. The store’s current site at 520 Queen Street doesn’t get much foot traffic. Next to Victoria Street’s Countdown supermarket, foot traffic is guaranteed. In two years, when the City Rail Link finally opens, there’ll be even more. “That,” says Hart, “will be the way of the future”. 

"Moving isn’t cheap – the moving company charges $25,000 on its own. He says the store usually runs at a loss after a move as customers get used to finding the new site. “It gives us two years to consolidate,” he says."  

The store's long stay at 438 Queen St saw highs and lows as the Spinoff notes, including going into receivership in 2008 (not 2009, as The Spinoff writes). 

In July 2008, Hart put the business up for sale, saying a bad foreign exchange deal had left the business in need of capital. With no buyers the business went into receivership in October 2008.

Hart and then co-owner Marty O'Donnell set up a new company called Fonografo (registered on Nov 13 2008), recruited a new business partner, Ralph Brayham, and ended up buying the Auckland business back off the receivers. But a lot of folks were left out of pocket from Real Groovy going bust. 

Both O'Donnell and Brayham are no longer owners as of 2015 and 2010 respectively. Store manager Sarah Williamson (a role she's held since 2008) is now one of the five owners, with Hart retaining a controlling 50% share (source: Companies Office website).

The new location has Hart's collection of neon signs up as decoration, and it's been painted purple. The Spinoff asked on how the move is going and Hart replied "One disaster after another” and laughs. His construction crew is on holiday and won’t be back in time to build him a front counter. He’s just been told it’s unlikely he’ll have internet on opening day. And he still hasn’t sorted the parking situation." 

But he does have a popular local band booked for opening night (updated- it’s The Beths), and the shop will be open for sales. Good luck for the move!

The poster above lists their previous locations:
Mt Eden Rd 1982-84
492 Queen St 84-86
400 Queen St 86-87 (this was a temporary location I think, while they did building upgrades to 492)
492 Queen St 87-89
438 Queen St 1989-2016
369 Queen St 2016-19
520 Queen St 2019-23

However this story on Real Groovy from Alan Perrott (NZ Herald November 2014) says Hart and Real Groovy co-founder Chris Priestly opened on Mt Eden Rd on July 20 1981, and moved to 438 Queen St in 1991.

A mockup of what Real Groovy's new store front will look like
A mockup of what Real Groovy's new store front will look like, via Real Groovy's site.

No comments: