‘It has been fairly robust’: Winnipeg music retailer closing after many years in enterprise

After decades in business, one of the city’s largest music stores is playing its final song.

Quest Musique on Portage Avenue is closing its retail store after more than two decades in the location.

Owner Sam Trachilis said he made the decision due to a variety of economic issues.

“You know, over the last few years, it’s been pretty tough,” he said, “It was hard to run a business before that, so after the aftermath of COVID-19, it’s like a hangover that just doesn’t seem to go away.”

Trachilis said he’s been battling supply chain issues, staff shortages, and surging inflation for months, with rising interest rates creating yet another struggle.

“Guitar stands that were $15 last month are now selling for $30,” explained Trachilis. “Everything has sort of doubled in price, and interest rates, our bank charges are tripled, so we’ve got that. Keeping the doors open, the lights on, the heat going, it’s getting tougher.”

According to Loren Remillard, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, it’s a familiar story among businesses.

“So many of these businesses are coming out of that really hurting and then taking a look at those dark clouds, and wondering is this the time to perhaps change course and close the doors and take a different path,” said Remillard.

He believes it’s important that people try to support local if a recession like the one experts are forecasting does happen, something Quest Musique’s customer base has been doing for years.

“Certainly, I’m excited they are having this great sale for everyone but bittersweet that they’re closing the store down,” said Dave Bergmuller, a regular customer who was shopping on Saturday.

“I’ve had so many memories bringing my boys here, like I have twins that I play music with. I remember they were both playing these tiny stand-up basses right here,” said Rob Wrigley, another regular customer and musician.

Memories and patronage appreciated by Trachilis.

“I want to thank everybody for almost 30 years of this business model,” he said.

The Portage Avenue store will be open and unloading stock until the end of the year.

Quest Musique will continue to offer music lessons at its Osborne location.

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