The Rotary Club of Oldmeldrum welcomed Norman English as the guest speaker to its most recent meeting. Norman, a former director of Bruce Miller’s music store in Aberdeen, gave his talk on the store’s history, and its recent closure.
Norman joined the store’s team in 1997 working Saturdays, before eventually going full time. He was appointed as a department manager soon after, before being asked to join the board.
The original store, said Norman, had been opened in 1900 by Charles Miller on the city’s George Street. It had later moved to Loch Street, where the store became one of the first television retailers in Aberdeen, before moving to its iconic site on the city’s Union Street.
Norman recounted how even during the depression of the 1920’s, some 2 or more piano retailers had managed to make a living in Aberdeen. Over the years, he reflected, we had become more of a ‘throwaway’ society. As the price of new pianos fell, particularly those imported from China, the firm’s piano restoration business, which had once taken up much of the building, became increasingly untenable.
Latterly, the store had faced challenges from supermarkets and online retailers when it came to selling books, CDs and electronic goods. Even musical instrument sales had suffered, he said, as online rivals, some of which had themselves now gone out of business, opted to pursue turnover ahead of profit.
Maintaining there was still a place for expert sales knowledge, Norman ended by announcing his plans to establish his own business selling accordions.