We have asked a range of retailers 3 key questions to find out about their experience of 2020. Today, Alice talks to Stuart Lewis, Director of Swansea’s Premier Musical Instrument Store, Spider Music.
Q: To say 2020 was a difficult year in Retail would be an understatement, what was the one single challenge that stands out the most?
A: Spider Music started in 1998 selling space echo tapes online. 2001 saw us open our first small shop in Gorseinon Market, large enough for just 2 people. Over the following years, we opened larger shops and eventually a second shop in Llanelli. We have moved around a bit in 20 years but in 2020 we finally came home and we now have a purpose built store – a little bit bigger than the first one!
Building and opening up a brand new purpose built music store and music school during lockdown was a challenge. We started work in November 2019 with a view to opening the store and the music school in Summer 2020, which we weren’t able to do. We also faced the challenge of stocking the whole store whilst Wales experienced problems with supply and logistics.
We’re really pleased with the outcome, even though we are currently only operating a click and collect service due to restrictions in Wales. Here’s a picture of the new store:
Q: Of the ways you changed how you run your business, which one has been the most fundamental?
A: COVID lead to us changing our opening times. In the past, we have been available from 9am until 9pm everyday. We now close at 6pm. We’ve found that it works better for the team, and we get more done in the times that we now operate. We also now have a dedicated team to run the music school, separate from the shop, giving me more to time to focus on the retail side of the business.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest opportunity for your business in 2021?
We’re looking forward to stocking more specialist and unique brands. We are excited to broaden our offering and catering to niche demographics.