Rather sad really, for those of us who lived in York [ or the few cultured ones remaining anyhow].. For a good couple of centuries, in York; at first at the end of a cobbled street called Stonegate, and then few hundred yards over the way, [Lendal] Banks Music & Son was a mainstay for those who liked to know their musical stuff. The staff were for many years really knowledgeable, and interesting characters - the sort you rarely get these days! They would go out of their way to make you feel like you mattered as customer; or let you know if something [ maybe record, CD] could interest you. They published their own music publications, and even often seen helping in local concerts, with the manuscript books for the performers, of which most of the staff at Banks were themselves also [ good musicians].
I shall colour the characters briefly, for illustrative purposes - a small pleasant little man [with little round glasses on] used to serve me often at that shop, very obliging, in a nice way. There was their boss, an older gentleman, likewise very knowledgeable. And then one of the long-term staff upstairs; a slim man with upright character, and then a smaller man whom I still very occasionally glimpse in York's busy streets [ now much more stooped in posture].. very quiet and attentive. Real people working in a truly great business.
The shop at Lendal was later renovated, and I used to like to go in to simply look at the instruments displayed behind display cabinets [ like a sort of museum really].
Or go upstairs to look through the hundreds of music books, with instruments displayed up on the walls nearby, and wonderful view over the York rooftops from a window at the far corner. When you came out of Banks music shop - you really felt quite proud to carry your sheet music, or record, in your hands; because it was a quality good old-fashioned store, with exceptional business acumen.
Then several years back they sold the lower floor to another business [ that used similar name] and they no longer supplied unusual or varied range of instruments - instead going for the mainstream choices. And so gradually their USP [ unique selling point] was lost; they no longer supplied a unique niche in the market.
And now they are gone. the other day I had to get new stuff for my musical things, and went over to a more sort of glorified warehouse place that sells musical items [ shall remain nameless] .. but there was no rapport, and staff looked rushed off their feet, and flustered, and the whole process gave me the impression of a mass production factory place. Instruments were coming in, in boxes, through their doors all the time, and all you did was select off a screen [ like a catalogue shop] until your order was handed over with little ceremony, or encouragement to want to go back again.
So, if you still have that local music store wherever you are - for heaven's sake keep promoting it to others, and patronise it as much as you can, because art is supposed to be all about communication, and people, not purely about selling a product mechanically . And if you do [pay a bit more for that special place- then do it, because you are keeping that local place in business through your goodwill... of which I believe, at least, we all need much more of in the world, at the present time.