If moving house makes you wince, imagine the headache that faced Unitech music store staff last week when they hauled 53 hefty speaker cabinets, four keyboards and a “pizzillion” music books to their new location next door, at the old Subaru building on the corner of Second and Fourth avenues.
They’re still recovering.
“It’s chaos around here. I’m still searching for my stapler,” said retail salesperson B.J. MacLean on Monday.
The back office has no door, and the upstairs needs a paint and plaster job.
The showroom is already in order, however, and the rest of the temporary insanity is justified by the long-term rewards.
After renting space from the Yukon Employees Union on Second for a decade, Unitech owner Ted Arnold has taken the plunge and bought his own building, right next door.
“Right now it’s aggravating because there’s so much work to do, but it’s going to give us a comfortable feeling,” said Arnold.
The move will also raise the store’s profile. The business’s new home fills two storeys instead of just one, and large blue Unitech lettering dominates the front of the building.
“You can see us from the Qwanlin Mall,” said Arnold.
The retail space is one-third smaller than the old showroom, but neither Arnold nor MacLean seem to mind.
“It’s smaller, but it has more of a homey effect. It’s not just a tall cinderblock feel. About the only thing missing is a fireplace,” said MacLean.
The new space may have shrunk the showroom, but it increased the amount of teaching facilities.
Arnold is converting the two-bedroom apartment upstairs into five teaching rooms and a recital/multi-use area.
The demand for teachers and teaching rooms has grown steadily in the past five years, said Arnold.
“There was a time when we only operated one room.”
Unitech will have at least seven teachers this fall, and they will be able to accommodate about 120 students.
The business has grown in other areas too since it was founded 18 years ago by a bunch of audio junkies.
Arnold was 23 when the store opened up with less than 15 amps for rent. The retail and teaching components were added 11 years ago.
The currant facility features a full range of sound equipment to rent and buy, as well as music books, guitars, pianos, accessories and even a Appalachian dulcimer — an hourglass-shaped stringed folk instrument popular in American old time music.
Arnold is now the sole owner of the store, yet he said business is not his forte.
“People say I’m a natural, but I never felt I was.”
He sees himself as a “wire guy” who has always been able to fix things. Arnold still does music repairs at the store.
What has kept him in the business so long are the constant innovations in the industry.
Simultaneous translators, lighter weight amps, new electronic music and wireless microphones are some of the changes to sound technology that Arnold has had to synchronize with his business
“You never get bored in this job.”
MacLean also enjoys her role at the store as a salesperson. The well-known singer-songwriter joined the staff June 1. It’s a completely different atmosphere from her previous job at Home Hardware, she said.
“Usually plumbing customers are there when something is not working. People can get a little cranky when their toilet is plugged up … (at Unitech) I get to be serenaded all the time.”
Unitech is open Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.