July 2, 2008

Red Dog Barks Out Its Presence As Music Store Gets New Label


Fresh lease of life for popular shop aiming to hit the right note

A RELAUNCHED music shop is hoping to hit the right notes with customers new and old after being saved from administration.

Staff at Sound Control in the Grassmarket were shocked when they were suddenly told they would be made redundant. The national chain went into administration in April, blaming increased competition from the internet.

Now former purchasing manager Alex Marten has bought the shop to run as an independent music store. He signed the lease on the last day before it was due to close, safeguarding the jobs of eight staff members.

The store has been rebranded as Red Dog Music, and will be officially opened on Friday. As well as selling musical instruments and equipment, it plans to support local bands and show work by artists.

To mark the store's rebirth, it will host a free party at the Caves, in Niddrie Street South, on Friday night, featuring the popular local ska band Bombskare.

Sound Control had been the UK's largest musical instrument supplier, but has now closed ten of its 26 shops nationwide.

Mr Marten, 29, from Haymarket, said: "It all happened pretty suddenly.

"It was a complete shock for us all. Suddenly they came and said the company was in administration. They kept the Edinburgh shop open for a month but it was obviously a pretty difficult time.

"I had just a month to try to get the finance. Right at the last minute we got things sorted out and I signed the lease.

"I knew it was a really good store and I wanted to keep it going. The staff are all really friendly and helpful. There aren't any other stores in Edinburgh doing the same as we are."

He added: "I don't see the internet as a threat, just another opportunity. We'll be selling all our products online as well, but I think people will always want to go into a shop and try out a guitar."

Most of the ten staff members are musicians, and Alex plays with the local band Asazi Funk Explosion.

They all hope the store will provide a hub for musicians and help bands find new members or record their music.

He said they named the store Red Dog after a famous roadie from the 1960s.

Mr Marten said: "We're making it a much quirkier kind of store. I wanted to involve local artists and musicians in the shop.

"We'll be displaying work by artists and we've already got a mural.

"We want to help bands, for example if they come in looking for a bassist or a manager."

The new shop has been welcomed by other Grassmarket traders, who say many businesses have been suffering due to the redevelopment work.

Matt Dale, treasurer of the Grassmarket Traders' Association, said: "It's definitely good to have a music shop.

Hopefully once the work is complete they'll be well positioned to enjoy the benefits."

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