Many Red Deer music lovers are lamenting the looming loss of the local HMV store — one of 102 outlets being shut down nationwide this spring.
“It’s sad that it’s going. My son’s going to be devastated,” said Jean Stinson, who would buy gifts for her son, a 45-year-old Star Wars fan, at Red Deer’s music and DVD store in the Bower Place Mall.
Entire movie sets are sold at HMV that aren’t available online, said Stinson. “A lot of people are going to be upset because, where are they going to get them now?”
She wondered if Walmart and Best Buy would increase their limited selections of CDs and DVDs in reaction.
Red Deer’s HMV store was busier than it’s been since Christmas on Saturday with customers coming to check out the selection of music, movies as well as T-shirts and collector items. Most were already marked 10 per cent off.
Although dropping CD sales and the rise of digital music streaming has pushed the Canadian chain into receivership, customers of all ages were saying they would miss the store’s physical products when it closes by April 30.
Music collectors praised HMV for having the best selection in Central Alberta. “It’s sad to see this place go, it’s one of the only places in town to order vinyls,” said Kyle Maier, 23. But he added the closure “was bound to happen,” after the disappearance of other music retailers, such CD Plus.
Maier hopes Red Deer’s few music independents, such as The Soundhouse and The Game Shop, will close the gap by expanding their product selection.
Jessica Whitelock, 17, and her sister Sara, 19, said they shopped at HMV “all the time” because of its variety of products and good prices. They mentioned the extra shipping costs associated with with ordering CDs or vinyls online.
Sara wondered if the chain’s closure would cause a greater strain on music artists, whose incomes are already taking a hit with declining CD sales, cheap downloads and music piracy.
John Kovacs, 40, said he likes supporting a bricks-and-mortar business. “I’ve shopped her for 30 years now. It’s kind of sad…” But while Danielle Yuhasz, 34, and Estrelita Viljoen, 46, are among those who will miss discovering new music on store shelves, other people wandering around HMV admitted they mostly download tunes.
“Once you put music from a CD onto your iPod, it seems kind of unnecessary,” said Shane Core, 17.
Robin Metzger, 36, was one of several customers who was disappointed to lose HMV’s selection of T-shirts and comic book items.
Store staff were not permitted to comment on the pending closure.