Popular Ipswich Shop West End Music to close permanently
The long-established West End Music store in Ipswich is closing for good – with the owner describing it as a ‘very difficult decision’.
James Garden, owner of the Norwich Road store, said a number of factors led to the closure, explaining that “the lockdowns certainly haven’t helped”.
“We have been closed for eight out of 12 months and it has not been viable,” Mr. Garden said.
“Also, like a lot of other people, my sanity suffered during the lockdown and it became quite stressful to run the store.”
Mr. Garden also works as an artist and illustrator, under the name JG Mind Doodles, and intends to focus on this topic in the future.
He started working in the Norwich Road shop, which sells a wide range of musical instruments and equipment, 17 years ago and has owned the business for five years.
Mr. Garden said, “I want to thank each of my clients who have supported my business and myself personally over the years. They all truly represent the world to me.”
Following the announcement on Facebook that the store will have its last day on Saturday, customer comments are pouring in.
One person said, “I can’t believe this. You’ve been rock music to all the musicians in town and beyond.”
Mr Garden paid tribute to Brian Booker, who owned West End Music for 25 years before going into business.
“Brian was my mentor and looked after me, and he gave me a job 17 years ago when no one else would. He was amazing.”
Prior to becoming West End Music, the store was known as Whitmores. Mr. Garden asks people to post their memories of the store over the years on the store’s Facebook page.
He said: “Although this is very sad news, we all need to stay positive. It’s been a year of a lot of negativity and I’d love to hear all the stories you have about your past at West End Music or when it was before Whitmores. “
Looking to the future, Mr. Garden has created an art website, having started creating digital artwork in 2017 while suffering from depression and anxiety, and has inspired others to use art to improve their mental health.
The talented artist created the illustrations for a children’s book by Rubbish Walks CIC boss Jason Alexander, which is still in development, following a pair of friendly strangers in their quest to escape Planet Trash.