Davis Music Centre
From their roots in Russell Street out to the Footscray store, Davis Music Centre have been an enormous part of the community for over 100 years.
Unfortunately, a combination of there being no apparent heir to the throne and the advent of online shopping has meant that the store will be closing down in the near future.
“Davis Music started in 1901, and Mr Davis used to run it. In 1970 I decided to work with the Davis family in the Russell Street shop. I stayed there for about 20 years,” says Lucio Ughetti, owner of the store. “The parking was a bit of a problem there, due to the fact that they shut Swanston Street down, so we decided to move to a new area that we thought would enhance the shop, which was Footscray. We went quite well, and I’m getting to an age where I think I’ve done my fair share.”
As many brick-and-mortar shops have in the last decade or so, Davis Music Centre looks to have met its demise at the hands of online shopping, and the resulting decline in community support.
“We don’t seem to get much support from customers, it’s all direct buy now from the internet, and I think a lot of music shops are finding it difficult. I’ve reached a certain age where there’s nobody to take over, my wife wants more holidays and I want to retire. It’s a hard decision to make because I’ve been a pro muso all my life, [but] we decided to call it a day”
When the store moved out of the city in 1990, Lucio saw it as the beginning of a new phase for the business, and while there were many good years, they are unable to keep going.
“We’ve had a wonderful time here, 25 years of serving, but I don’t have anyone in Footscray to take over.
“We thought we’d move here with a big store, I thought it was really going to kick on but personally I didn’t realise that the online [shopping] was going to be as big as it is. It’s detrimental. We’ve got young kids coming in here, they want a music school or parts for things [and] I’m just trying to work out how it’s all going to pan out.”
From a community perspective, Davis Music Centre shutting down will be a massive loss for musicians in the west, as there are some things that an online store isn’t able to cater for.
“If they haven’t [realised already], they’ll know it when we completely close down. I think they will miss the flexibility of coming in and getting a violin stringed or tuning things or doing things like that.”
However, the store isn’t going quietly into the night, with a massive closing down sale on now with discounts on almost any musical instrument or accessory you could ever need. If you’re out in the west, or are able to make the pilgrimage over, it would be well worth dropping in, as family stores like this might all be gone pretty soon.
By Elijah Hawkins