Hayward Guitars to close as last music stores in Winchester see sales drop

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AN independent store in Winchester is closing after 22 years with a lockdown accused of ‘the final nail in the coffin of retail’.

Hayward Guitars on Stockbridge Road closes on May 31 after sales plummet and rents rise.

Owner Brian Hayward said: “The lockdown was the final nail in the retail coffin. Everyone has gotten used to buying online or at the very least trying something in a store and then going to the buy online.

“The days of the little independents are well and truly over. Sales have been terrible this year. People come in and look at the price and think ‘I can get that cheaper online’ but the fact is the guitars online come out from the warehouse and they haven’t been touched by human hands and they’re not playable so a lot of my work is to install guitars that people have bought online that don’t work so to In that regard, it’s a bit of a false economy.”

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Brian, 59, prepared for his future by building a workshop at his home in Winchester, where he says his biggest income comes from. He said: “I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like, ‘how long can I do this before I go absolutely crazy.’ Building a business over 22 years that started as a hobby is everything. an achievement, but you get to a point where it’s more heartbreak and not much return.

“A few years ago I thought things were going to get a bit ugly, so I built a little workshop at home because it’s not viable for me to run this place with bills going up, so I really need a studio rhythm to work, so I’m closing the retail side and moving the studio to my new studio.

Hampshire Chronicle: Hayward Guitars to close in Winchester

“I’m ok with the closure. I saw it coming and I had time to plan, so it’s not that bad. It was great. I met a lot of nice people, a lot customers and a lot of work, but really the company cannot exist with only one part of the company.

“It’s a loss for retail, but at one point there were five music stores in Winchester, but you can’t go on with the rent, the rates and the lack of footfall.”

He also criticized the Business Improvement District: “The BID takes my money and that’s all they do. When you have a problem, they do absolutely nothing.”

BID Executive Director Dr Paul Spencer said: “Stockbridge Road will not be the same without Hayward Guitars. I brought my first Brian Hayward guitar as a teenager many years ago and the shop we will be sorely missed.”

If you have any questions about guitar repairs you can call Brian on: 07379139307 or email info@haywardguitars.com.

The guitar store is currently having a sale.

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