Music Warehouse owners shut down Colchester store after 37 years in town

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THE owners of one of Colchester’s most iconic retailers have bid farewell to the city after 37 years of serving local musicians.

Lou and Sue Moodie opened their first music store in 1984 in Butt Road.

The couple were both musicians and said Magpie’s Nest (the name of the old store they had decided to keep) sold used musical equipment.

Three years later, the couple took over a second store, located near Alexandra Road, and began selling new instruments and accessories under the new name of Music Warehouse.

Lou had quit his office job a year earlier and the couple began running both stores simultaneously, communicating between the two using CB radios.

Sue and Lou Moodie inside Magpie’s Nest at Butt Road

It was in 1989 that Music Warehouse first moved to its famous St John’s Street home, taking over a Grade II listed building that was once a hamburger bar.

Lou said, “The store grew so much that in 1995 we bought next door.

“Since the buildings were listed, we couldn’t just put them together. ”

Sue added, “We had doors between the two buildings, but there were a lot of separate rooms.

“Everyone liked the atmosphere there because it was different from most stores.

Over the years, Music Warehouse has grown into something of an institution in Colchester.

Many townspeople bought their first instruments at the store and continued to visit them regularly.

In fact, their very first customer, resident Alan Sharp, returned before they closed to make sure he could also be the store’s last customer.

Gazette: Sue Moodie, Alan Sharp and Lou MoodieSue Moodie, Alan Sharp and Lou Moodie

The stores have hosted members of Blur, Status Quo and Scottish icons the Proclaimers over the years while McFly’s Dougie Poynter bought his debut bass from Music Warehouse.

Lou and Sue were clearly doing something right as Cream music legend Jack Bruce made it his music store of choice.

Lou said, “Jack Bruce was a good friend and customer. We were two of the 150 people invited to his funeral.

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The company regularly hosted Music Warehouse nights – concerts where groups of clients performed in front of other clients – as well as facilities for events in Castle Park and some of the city’s most popular venues.

Sue said, “The problem with music is that most people don’t give up on it.

“We had musicians who are older than us and who were playing in bands at the time.

“Back when we were at Butt Road, school kids used to come over on their lunch break and sit on the floor and make jam.

“That’s what they liked, this atmosphere.”

Gazette: Lou Moodie, Jerry Elvin, Matt Blunderfield and Sue Moodie in front of Music WarehouseLou Moodie, Jerry Elvin, Matt Blunderfield and Sue Moodie in front of Music Warehouse

Music Warehouse last closed last Saturday, a sad day for Lou, Sue, staff Jerry Elvin and Matt Blunderfield, as well as generations of musicians in Colchester and beyond.

Lou said, “Once people found out that we were closing, we had so many people come over and said they were sorry to see us go.

“We would like to thank all the customers who have supported us over the years.

“Our motto has always been that we are a musicians store, run by musicians for musicians.

“We’ve given a lot of advice over the years and hopefully helped people. ”

Sue added: “It has been a real privilege and we believe we have trained many young musicians at Colchester. We will always be grateful to our loyal customers who have stayed by our side.

Lou added: “It was a fantastic trip and we enjoyed every minute of it.”


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