Home' The Wellingtonian : May 12th 2011 Contents Qantas Community Newspaper of the Year
MAY 12, 2011
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9 Turnbull pic 10-11 Opinion 12 Wellingtonian interview
14 Reviews 17-18 Arts
off to famous
with a lifetime
of trends 12
The day the music died
No longer groovy: Real Groovy owner Mark Thomas said it would be a sad day when the store closed its doors
for the last time.
Photo: REBECCA THOMSON
By REBECCA THOMSON
Real Groovy owner Mark Thomas
might be singing the blues right
now, but he hopes to open another
store in the future.
Mr Thomas said he would have
some tough decisions to make
when Real Groovy, the popular
music shop in Cuba St, closes on
I m going to have big debts
with the bank and they re not
going away, he said. I ll have to
start a new business or sell the
I have a wife and three kids, so
this affects them, too. I ve had a
constant headache just thinking
A music fan since childhood, Mr
Thomas cannot imagine doing
anything other than running a
I m sure it s possible to open
another store, if you get the right
mix. It would have to be smaller
and the focus would have to be on
secondhand and vinyl.
A lot of stuff is coming out on
vinyl now. Some record companies
are releasing music on vinyl and
putting it out with a download
card, so people can download it,
Mr Thomas has worked for Real
Groovy since 1996, starting at the
Auckland store. When Real
Groovy opened in Wellington in
1999, Mr Thomas relocated and
took on the store manager s role.
We built this place up from
scratch. There was nothing when
we got here and we put in carpet,
all the shelves, everything.
Real Groovy was placed in
receivership in October 2008, but
Mr Thomas mortgaged his house
to buy it.
That December The
Wellingtonian named him as our
person of the year, for saving a
I was really proud of that. I ve
got that [article] hanging on my
High rent, falling CD sales and
being undercut by larger players,
such as The Warehouse, have
taken their toll on the music busi-
Music sales in this country have
dropped from $120.8 million in
2002 to $82.7m in 2009, according
to Recording Industry Association
of New Zealand figures.
Even so, Mr Thomas does not
regret buying Real Groovy.
Sure there have been times
when I ve wondered if it was the
right move, but I ve learned a lot
more than you ever would at busi-
Since the store s closure was
announced, Real Groovy has been
busier than it has been for
months. But Mr Thomas said it
was too late to save the shop.
So many people have come in
in the past few weeks. We have
seen customers in here that we
haven t seen for years.
The reality is the [profit]
margins are not good. We have to
Now everything is for sale,
including the coat hangers once
used for hanging merchandise.
We could end up selling off the
office equipment, desks and com-
Volunteers have been helping
Mr Thomas strip the store, which
must be empty when it is handed
over to new owners.
We re liable for the site till
July. We ll spend that time tear-
ing down shelves, stripping walls
and windows and painting. It s a
massive job. People are welcome
to come down and help.
Row brews over liquor licences
By EMMA BEER
Courtenay Place bars may not
have the patronage they expect
during the Rugby World Cup.
Wellington City Council
informed bars this week that
special licences would not be
issued for pool games, only for the
A special licence can allow bars
to expand the area in which they
serve alcohol, generally to outside.
For Mishmosh Bar, on the cor-
ner of Courtenay Place and Allen
St, not being able to get a special
licence would restrict its capacity.
The bar s principal, Mike Hood,
applied for special licences for all
six games in the capital.
They ve [the council] got this
really neat concept, that they
want Wellington to be an awe-
some region to visit. But they re
hamstringing our ability to do
that, he said.
Alison Box, the council s public
health manager, said the key
issues when considering licence-
related activities for the World
Cup were safety, accessibility and
the general appearance of the city.
We will have increased visitor
numbers in the city and the
ability for visitors and locals to
move around the city will be key
to success, she said.
A special liquor licence could
increase Mishmosh s capacity by
up to 300 people. The bar has been
told it will be able to use the area
in Allen St for quarterfinals only.
We re allowed to showcase
Wellington and allowed to go out-
side our bar areas, put on a really
good show, extra tents, extra fan-
fare, things like that. [Things]
that we were really willing to do,
but we re unable to do it [for the
pool matches], said Mr Hood.
The games would draw far more
people to Wellington, he said.
[The people] gotta go some-
Quarterfinals weekend is ex-
pected to attract more people than
the Sevens, but Ms Box indicated
the situations were different.
Fewer people means less
demand on public spaces and
therefore safety and access are not
as problematic, she said.
Mr Hood said he understood
there might be health and safety
issues, but his primary concern
was showcasing Wellington and
helping people enjoy the event.
Ms Box said the council felt
Courtenay Place might reach
capacity for bars and public space.
We will direct people to other
areas of the city, the Cuba quar-
ter, and to bars closer to the
stadium. We are keen to promote
all areas of the city.
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