Things you didn’t know about running a music store: with Gold Coast Music

Gold Coast Music, located in the heart of Southport, has rapidly risen to become arguably the City’s premiere hub for the supply of musical instruments and all things muso-gear related.

The store is owned and run by dynamic husband and wife team Stewy and Tamara Fairhurst. They’ve always been great supporters of the local music scene and this year has been no exception, with Gold Coast Music stepping up to sponsor the ‘Live music of the year’ category at this year’s Gold Coast Music Awards, which was taken out by Tijuana Cartel.

In this day and age running any sort of bricks and mortar retail outlet, especially when it comes to music, is best left to the denizens of passion and perseverance.  Challenges abound, and resilience is paramount for those with an eye for longevity.

At the end of 2018 Stewy and Tamara took the plunge to bravely step out and open their own store at the Southport site (which had previously been an Allan’s Billy Hyde outlet). Stewy’s musical passion, customer savvy  and retail background in music stores (having previously managed the Musicians Pro Shop at Mermaid Beach) combined with Tamara’s skills and experience with the behind-the-scenes, engine room component of running a business, has ensured that their perfect match has translated to the business realm and transformed the store when they rebranded it as Gold Coast Music.

Keeping it focused on getting the simple, common sense stuff right every time has been a hallmark of the store’s success. In the words of Tamara; “Running a music store is about knowing your customer’s demands so you know what to order. Customer service is definitely paramount, as well as problem solving and a quick wit to help solve your customer’s issues.

“You must also have a knack for predicting the future – HA! It would be great to have a crystal ball, but in reality, that is what a lot of your time is spent on, increasing business and the opportunity to keep the bills paid.”

Tammy also enlightened us on a few of the more interesting aspects and surprising anecdotes when it comes to running a store catering for the music fraternity.

You stock a wide and diverse array of instruments. Can you tell us about a few of the most unusual or ‘niche’ instruments or gear that you have in the store?

We have a Lanikai eight string ukulele and wooden train whistles! Then there’s jaw harps – not many remember, or know of these little beauties.

And no, you don’t get to play all the instruments, like some may think!

What’s the strangest request or inquiry you’ve encountered in the store?

Someone came in and asked if we sell bread and milk!!

How has the COVID-19 pandemic played out and impacted Gold Coast Music?

Well, to be honest, business has gone into overdrive, which we were not expecting. We are trying to keep up and have even employed more warehouse staff. To adapt to the situation, we are abiding by the strict regulations of social distancing, sanitation and cleanliness. We have the necessary signage and hand sanitiser in place to remind our customers as they enter the store. Although unfortunately during this pandemic, we have had to halt the workshops and industry nights we had planned for. However, stay tuned, they will be upcoming when we are safely able to!

What are the most crucial factors to cover off in order to run a kick-arse music store? 

  1. Good product knowledge
  2. Experience in the industry
  3. Customer service is everything
  4. Problem solving and quick thinking

Have you had any famous or interesting people visit the store so far?

Considering we have only been in business for just over 20 months, the list is relatively small so far. We’ve had Lee Kernigan, Virgil Donati, Brian Cadd, a couple of NRL players and of course lots of local musos and people in bands. Plus we have a staff member who had a few hits back in the day. As to who it is, well you’ll just have to come in and find out…

Whether you’re a fully-fledged music industry type, a musical hobbyist or simply someone with a curiosity for all things music related, Gold Coast Music, located at 53 Nerang Street Southport, is definitely worth a visit. Check out their range over at gcmusic.com.au.

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