Shropshire Star

Excitement as HMV's new Shrewsbury store opens - offering more than just music and films

Customers have given an excited welcome to their favourite shop at the opening of the new HMV store in Shrewsbury.

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The HMV store opening in the Darwin shopping Centre, Shrewsbury

At the front of the queue to get into the store at 9am on Wednesday were partners Leigh Morgan and Abi Cank who travelled into town from Cross Houses at 5.30am and were first through the Darwin Centre's doors at 8am.

"It's brilliant to see HMV back in Shrewsbury," said Leigh, 21, who is a big fan of pop culture and was keen to add to his 130-plus collection of pop vinyl statues.

First in the queue were Leigh Morgan and Abigail Cank, from Cross Houses, here served by Kris Townsend

"It is equivalent to the size of the store in Telford and I love it because it's more about what you won't find in regular shops."

Abi, also 21, said: "I love it here because it is like the Tardis, bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside! We are HMV fans and had been travelling over to Telford since the store here closed in 2020."

"There are lots of weird and wonderful things here," she added carrying a bag of mystery goodies.

Leigh and Abi were planning to browse in the store for a few hours before deciding whether to stay on in town for the switching on of the Christmas lights.

Superheroes film buff and talented artist Ben Chipchase, 25, from Shrewsbury, was so pleased with the return of HMV to the county town that he painted a picture of the firm's listening dog logo and handed it over to staff.

"I love films," said Ben. "I am a big fan of superhero films and used to shop at HMV at Pride Hill before it closed."

Ben Chipchase with art he made to give as a gift, pictured with staff members Elly Peake-Thornhill and manager Steph Kozakiewicz, right

Ben is a volunteer at the Salvation Army charity shop at Harlescott where some of his work has been sold for the charity.

Music fan Ian O'Reilly, 51, from Shrewsbury, remembers the Virgin Megastore that used to occupy the site in Pride Hill where the Floro Lounge cafe bar is now.

Among his likes are Bruce Springsteen and The Smiths, and he believes passionately in physical music in the form of CDs and vinyl records instead of downloading.

"Musicians get a tiny amount from streaming, which I think is unethical. I know musicians and they need to earn a living and get properly paid for their work," he said.

Bruce Springsteen fan Ian O'Reilly, from Shrewsbury, checks out the live gig listings - the store will be having a live performance most Saturdays

Shrewsbury students and music fans Morwenna Burn, 17, and Amy Morgan, 16, arrived early into town from Welshpool just to have a look at the new store before heading off to college.

They buy vinyl records and are both pleased to see the store return.

"It sounds different and is going back to the way it used to be done," said Morwenna.

Amy, a fan of metal music said: "I was pleased to see the store reopen."

Metal fans Amy Morgan, 16, and Morwenna Burn, 17, from Welshpool

The store is being managed by Stef Kozakiewicz, who moved over from the shop at Telford and was zipping around the store talking to customers.

Regional manager Andy Morgan said: "I am delighted with the opening so far. It has been a difficult couple of years but we are delighted with the response and how the store looks."

Mr Morgan said although the HMV store at the Pride Hill Shopping Centre closed in 2020 because of redevelopment plans, the company never wanted to leave Shrewsbury.

"We were over the moon to find this location close to the Pride Hill entrance of the Darwin Centre. Shrewsbury was never a town that we did not want to trade in," he added.

The HMV store opening in the Darwin shopping Centre, Shrewsbury

Although music and films are still a vital part of the business, the store sells lots of pop culture items and is much different from the kind of store the old ones among us may remember.

"It is a happy coincidence for us that we have found this other market," said Mr Morgan.

HMV are also introducing live music at the store on Saturdays, where artists can get more visibility for their social media.

Aled Rees, from Welshpool, right, is served by Norman Kenny

First up this Saturday, is Birmingham-based MC and recording artist Natty D, who will be doing a half-hour set from 2pm.

Other Saturday slots are filling up fast in the run-up to Christmas and then into the New Year.