Music fans' sadness at shop closure

IT'S the end of an era for music fans in Ipswich – the town's best-known independent record shop has been forced out of business.Rex Records in Queen Street has been selling discs for decades.

IT'S the end of an era for music fans in Ipswich - the town's best-known independent record shop has been forced out of business.

Rex Records in Queen Street has been selling discs for decades.

But last week it was forced to shut its doors for good - victims of the changing way we buy our music.

Owner Chris Barrett told neighbouring shops that he was unable to compete with the growing number of outlets selling music - his business had been badly hit by internet sales and supermarkets undercutting prices he could charge.


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But the closure was described as a "disaster" by local musicians who have seen the loss of a valuable outlet for them.

Jill Dance, of Rumbles sandwich shop, said everyone had been shocked when Mr Barrett told them he was having to close.

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She said: "Chris is such a wonderful chap and the shop was the best place in town to get music.

"He and his colleague, Scruff, know everything there is to know about music and they were a real asset to the area.

"It's really sad that he's had to close - he told me last week that he had been here 28 years."

The shop closure will mean that local bands will no longer have an outlet for their work in the town.

Toni Vines, who has been a member of many local bands and is currently guitarist with the Camelfoot Raiders, felt the effect could be devastating.

He said: "With Chris you could leave him 20 CDs on a sale-or-return basis and you would have an outlet to sell your music.

"That's gone now - he couldn't compete with Sainsbury's and Tesco selling chart albums at less than a tenner.

"And music on the web has helped kill off shops like Rex - you can download music cheaper or even for free if you do it illegally, even though it is not as high quality."

Mr Vines did not think there were any independent music shops left in Ipswich selling the range you could find in Rex.

Ipswich Partnership chairman Paul Clement was disappointed to hear about the closure of Rex and felt that independent shops were vital to the town's prosperity.

He said: "Everyone knows you'll find a Marks or a Debenhams in a place like Ipswich, but it is the independent stores that give it a character of its own - and we still have a fair number of those in Ipswich."

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