Ennis currently has just one dedicated music shop following the recent closure of Roxy Music and owner of Our Generation, Creina Wickham, explains that such is the decline in music sales she can only operate on a week-to-week basis.
Our Generation is located on Market Street above The Wine Buff and its primary business is in music sales dealing in CDs of varying genres, vinyl and music DVDs.
Ms Wickham has been operating her business in Ennis since September and in light of a number of business closures in the town recently, most recently the closure of Roxy Music, she has concerns for the future.
“I do find it worrying that there have been these closures. I have to say we are only operating one week at a time. I can’t look any further than that, it is too worrying to look any further so we pay the bills, the rates and the rent each week to take one week into the next week,” Ms Wickham admitted.
Asked why her business appears to have survived in what has been a difficult time for popular music shops in the town, she attributes this to her second-hand and vinyl trade.
“I don’t know why exactly the music shops aren’t surviving, it’s hard to say but I feel the reason why others have struggled would be those that are mainly doing chart stuff, which is most of what is being downloaded now, especially new releases. While we do new releases, it is not our whole business. I feel because we do second-hand music, offer a special order service and deal in old vinyl, we’re offering something different. We are catering for those who like classical, jazz, blues and American country as well as pop music. We try to stock a bit of every genre, whereas others are dealing primarily in pop music and from what I can see younger people don’t buy music, they are downloading everything,” she said.
Ms Wickham feels the recession is only partially to blame for a decline in business for music shops and believes it is also a symptom of the emergence of the iPod and MP3 players, which had been around before recession.
She said she feels downloading has “contributed to it and made it worse” for music shops but added that rents and rates have not helped to keep businesses afloat. She urged the local authority and those renting business properties to consider lowering these costs or Ennis risks losing more shops and ultimately its consumer base, down the line.
She said the recession and overheads such as high rents and rates “is having an effect” on Ennis businesses.
“It is hard for everyone. The majority of people in the town are in the same boat. I was at a town meeting recently and everyone is worried about rent and rates and is looking for reductions so people can stay in business. One of the shops near my business is getting ready to close, which is very upsetting for the owner, after 13 years of business. There are rumours that other shops will close; if that happens the town will be derelict. People are getting bored with the town because there is not enough diversity to attract people to go in and browse.
“There are empty buildings all along the streets, we will have nothing but discount shops and coffee shops left. There’s no diversity to attract people to come and check out what’s on offer. If there were lower rents and rates at least it would help to keep the buildings full and unless we do that the people will go elsewhere and it will be very hard to get them back,” Ms Wickam concluded.