Rob Williams

Online shopping boom claims another victim

MUSIC is life and customers are friends for long-time music shop owner and guitar guru Rob Haysom, but sadly he is not immune to the changing times.

The owner of the popular Word of Mouth Music store will close the door of the Brisbane Rd business for the last time on Saturday, October 26, ending 27 years of serving the musos of Ipswich.

While the decision to close didn't come easy for Mr Haysom and business partner Pat, it had been a long time coming, with the global financial crisis, and, finally, a boom in internet instrument sales triggering a drop in business over the last few years.

"Things were going great, then we started to really notice the effect of the GFC on our customers' discretionary spending," Mr Haysom said.

"As a result, the internet took hold. Kids were buying rubbish online - a lot of people were buying fake Fenders and Gibsons online without realising."

The business follows the loss of video rental shops, record shops and book stores in Ipswich as a result - in part - of online shopping.

If there was one positive to come from the emergence of instrument sales on the net, it was that it increased demand for Word of Mouth's repair services.

Mr Haysom now plans to keep his repair business operating from a new, yet to be confirmed, workshop - hopefully in Ipswich.

"It is sad to close the shop," he said.

"I have been saying my goodbyes to people and having my photos taken with them. Over the years they have become more than customers to me."

Ipswich Chamber of commerce chairman Brett Kitching said the closure of a well-known business like Word of Mouth was an unfortunate sign of the times.

"It's the same with a lot of the retail sector where their product has become easy to purchase online," Mr Kitching said. "Business owners have had to find a different way of reaching customers, or join the online trend." Mr Kitching refused to comment on whether or not he thought a GST should be applied to items purchased online, but did add that there was an obvious advantage to avoiding any sort of tax.

Word of Mouth Music opened on Brisbane Rd at Bundamba in 1986.

Mr Haysom said he wanted to thank all of his loyal customers over the last 25 years. Mr Haysom's new repair business will be called Guitar Mechanix.