'It was more than a shop' - farewell to Harrogate music scene's hub for decades
The closure of Harrogate's only independent guitar shop much-loved by the Harrogate music community has been described as the 'end of an era'.
Phil Dean, a highly respected rock guitarist himself, said the demise of what was known as Rock Steady Music when it was first launched in 1995 when it first opened before becoming Guitarzone in more recent times was "very sad."
Phil said: "It was more than a shop to lots of musicians and it had a fantastic community feel about it.
"It’s very sad and I’ll miss a lot of it. It may only be a shop but it is the the end of an era."
Originally, the specialist guitar shop was owned by fellow musican Barry Sellars at number 24 Regent Parade before Phil, who worked there, took it over, and moved round the corner to number 25 where it was renamed Guitarzone.
A hub for the entire Harrogate live music scene from talented beginners to some of the area's top musicians, it was also keen to sponsor gigs and events at times.
In its early days the shop even made an appearance on ITV's talent show Stars in Their Eyes when founder Barry Sellars was turned into Eric Clapton!
But, now that the glory days are in the past, Phil said Guitarzone had sadly become another victim of the rise of internet shopping.
Phil Dean said: "Things started well but, unfortunately, the change In buying habits moving to online and the increase in overheads meant a shop was no longer a viable option.
"It’s true to say retail is in a worrying state right now, even before Covid-19. not helped by some suppliers and some people not willing to support local shops.
"But I’ve met lots of great people along the way, customers and reps, a lot who have become friends, and one thing is sure - we gave it our best shot."
One of Harrogate's finest living musicians, soulful keyboard/vocalist Dan Burnett paid tribute to the shop's contribution to the Harrogate scene after he heard it had locked its doors for the final time.
Dan, who is live streaming at Facebook.com/danburnettmusic during lockdown every Sunday at 6:30pm, said: "Guitarzone and/or Rock Steady Music was well-loved by the Harrogate music community.
"The shop is already sorely missed. Having somewhere local to go for instruments and supplies can be easy to overlook especially with online shops and price wars.
"In addition, Phil was an incredibly helpful shop owner/manager and a supremely talented musician and guitar tutor."
Phil said he wanted to thank so many people for their support over the years from original owner Barry Sellars and Andy Eagle who did the repairs.
The list also include friends who worked and helped out : Charles Sellers, Ade Payne, Rob Reynolds, Rob Donnelly, Joshua Lawson, John Noe, Mick Brown, Nige Harrison, Dan Burnett, Frank Mizen, Dan Mizen, Peter Mosey, Paul Middleton, Rich Jevons, Jamie Valentine, Owen James. Rick Lawson.
He also thanked his my family for their support, especially his ever-supportive wife Lynda, son George and parents Richard and Jenny.
Phil Dean said the one silver lining over the closure of Guitarzone shop was that he could now, potentially, concentrate on playing music.
He said: "There are all the customers who supported the shop over the years who I can’t possibly list but I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart.
"It does free me up to do a lot more recording and gigging - whenever that’s possible!
"I've already been recording and teaching guitar from home and online.
"I’m looking forward to new musical collaborations and playing in my existing ones especially when that can be live again.
"I’ll also be trading guitars from home and offering a buying service."
If you would like to donate to Dan Burnett's tip bucket during his live streaming sessions on Sunday nights at 6.30pm, visit PayPal.me/danburnettmusic
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