Canadian Music Trade - February / March - Page 20

NEW LOCATION, NEW LAYOUT, SAME STEVE’S S ince first opening in 1965, the original Steve’s Music Store has become a be- loved fixture of downtown Montreal. The business’s longtime storefront – or rather, storefronts – at 51 St-Antoine St. West had long represented an iconic, old school retail experience for both locals and visitors to the city – including a who’s who of major artists and celebrities. It was busy and vibrant any day of the week, and the store’s unique approach to do- ing business was a reflection of founder Steve Kirman’s personality and vision, says Michael Kirman, Steve’s son and the VP of Steve’s Mu- sic Inc. “The honest truth is that it’s 100 per cent Steve’s personality – how he envisioned the business and how he built it up. That’s really the only way to explain it.” The St-Antoine building had been in the family for a long time, Kirman continues, explaining that, in the 1930s and ‘40s, his grandfather operated a pawnshop out of what eventually became the drum shop. Af- ter Steve opened his own store there at age 20 • CANADIAN MUSIC TRADE After 52 years in its iconic storefront on Montreal’s St-Antoine Street, Steve’s Music Store has moved into a brand new location on Ste-Catherine East. By Kevin Young 18, he gradually expanded, ultimately taking over much of the block. Then, the street was called Craig St. and was home to various pawnshops and curiosity stores. Steve sold a variety of goods, ranging from watches to camping gear to musical equipment. One of the first items he ever sold as a business owner was a gui- tar. That was around the time of the 1960s British Invasion, Kirman says, and seeing the lay of the land, his father soon phased out other product categories to focus on musical equipment exclusively. Steve’s Music has never been an impersonal retail experience – not in Montreal, not in its Toronto and Ottawa locations, and not in its newest two stores in the Greenfield Park and Dollard-des-Ormeaux suburbs of Montreal. The vibe has always been unique and infor- mal, an atmosphere that was an integral part of the chain’s success. Full disclosure: I have spent many hours fussing with gear at Steve’s in Montreal, both when I lived there and, really, any time I go back to town and need something to aug- ment my rig. It was never a sterile experience;