In these challenging times – for not only our industry – but the retail scene more generally, with constant talk of store closures, CVAs, redundancies, and “game changing” times, you could be forgiven for allowing some of the good news to pass you by.
110 years ago, in 1908, Robert Badon Powell’s Scouting for Boys publication began, effectively beginning the scout movement; 10,000 suffragettes took to the streets of London; Newcastle United was heading towards its 3rd league title in 5 years and James Gale Windows opened a music store in the recently redeveloped Central Arcade right in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. Little did he know that in 2018, the store would still be trading in the same location (albeit on a significantly larger scale) as well as having a store in one of Europe’s largest Shopping centres and that JGWindows would be one of the most well-known brands in the North East.
Over the years, the store has welcomed many of the North East’s famous faces, including Brian Ferry, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, and Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler, who’s first guitar came from Windows. For most people you ask on the street, they’ll recount their memories of purchasing vinyl and listening to albums in the famous “listening booths”. Many of them (or their children!) are of course back now with the growth of vinyl sales over the past 10 years.
“It’s no coincidence that Windows has remained successful,” says Rupert Bradbury, the company’s Managing Director. “With 14,000 square foot of prime retail space, we really do appeal to the broadest of people’s musical tastes, selling everything from pianos to guitars, saxophones, CDs/DVDs and Vinyl, and from Hi-fi to printed music. Our Newcastle store really is the only true department store for music in the UK.”
“Today’s climate is certainly the most challenging it has ever been,” Rupert goes on to say. “Our success is certainly focused on a quality shopping environment, with a vast array of products on display, available to try and of course knowledgeable and trusted staff. And with support from our suppliers who truly understand the value we offer, we believe we can continue to be very much part of the North-East’s heritage and music scene for very many years to come”