Alas Real Groovy
Alas, Real Groovy, I knew her well. For twenty-eight years Real Groovy has been bringing band members together and improving the music collections of the nation. It's a sad day now to see it go into receivership.
I was one of its first customers in its first shop further up Queen St. Back then, as an impecunious architecture student, I used to make some pocket money by buying up bootlegs and valuable records from junk shops and lesser second-hand record dealers and sell them up at Record Exchange for decent prices to people who were prepared to pay good money for valuable stuff.
My best deal, as I recall, was the Sex Pistols bootleg 'First US Show,' which I bought for about $3 from a chap down in Fort St whose prices were always wrong, and sold up at Record Exchange in St Kevin's Arcade for $35. That wasn't bad pocket money for the early 80s, and I soon cut a regular path from that under-priced Fort St shop to the good payers at St Kevin's Arcade..
Real Groovy put a stop to all that.
They knew what they were buying, they knew the precise value of what they were selling, and they imported so many shit-hot bootlegs (sold at prices that were almost affordable) that vinyl junkies didn't need to go anywhere else.
And they didn't. It was no good for 'arbitrageurs' like myself, but it was damn good for all the other vinyl junkies who flooded into the first decent vinyl store to hit Auckland's main street. Pretty soon all the other shops were all closing and, with the exception of Colin in Victoria St's 'Rock 'n' Roll Records', their people were working at Groovy.
And why not? They were the true example of the benevolent monopoly. Huge range, good prices, knowledgeable staff. What more do you need?
Turns out what we didn't need were all those US vinyl imports that started to flood the store in recent years; it wasn't competition from Warehouse or TradeMe, or even MP3 downloads that drove the final nail in: it was foreign exchange deals on those imports that apparently finally broke the bank.
Which means the four stores in each of New Zealand's four main cities might rise again one day like a phoenix.
I hope so, and look forward to it.
UPDATE: Russell Brown has more details here about Groovy and its demise than you could poke a stylus at.