30/07/2008 - 22:00

78s pitches a familiar tune

30/07/2008 - 22:00

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Iconic Perth music store 78 Records is about to undergo a major overhaul, and get some unlikely neighbours, as its home of 12 years undergoes extensive renovations.

78s pitches a familiar tune

Iconic Perth music store 78 Records is about to undergo a major overhaul, and get some unlikely neighbours, as its home of 12 years undergoes extensive renovations.

With the founders selling the property and the business earlier this year, 78s is preparing for its next phase, under new management and in slightly smaller premises.

Founders Geoff Hudson, John Hood, and John McGregor opened the original store in June 1971 on the first floor of the Padbury Building in Forrest Place.

Three years later, 78s relocated into bigger premises next door to His Majesty's Theatre, before crossing the street to its third location at 884 Hay Street, and finally settling at its current home at 914 Hay in 1996.

While the west end of the city was almost devoid of retail when the business moved there, today the area is home to a burgeoning retail offering, including Hugo Boss and furniture retailer Natuzzi.

The building's new owner, Friendlies Chemist owner and property developer Jeff Leach, moved quickly on the renovations, making way for a commercial tenancy on the first floor and two additional tenancies on the ground floor.

78s will stay in its current location, with about 500 square metres of retail space on the ground floor and a basement area.

After an extensive renovation, the entire first floor 650sqm commercial tenancy will be taken up by accounting firm Pitcher Partners, which will sub-let its current office in AMP Tower.

Pitcher Partners managing partner Bryan Hughes said the company's 40 staff would move into its new offices in about two weeks, with its new location sure to raise a few eyebrows.

"We don't fit the mould of a typical accounting firm," Mr Hughes told WA Business News.

"We're around everything we like to be around. We've got a high-end fashion outlet downstairs, a cafe and a record store."

Joining 78s on the ground floor will be clothing store Realm, which is moving from its King Street premises of six years.

The building will be given a new shop-front treatment, with the relocation of the entry, a new foyer and possibly an espresso bar with alfresco area.

78 Records is now run by long-time employees Andrew de Lang and Micheala Giblett.

"The brand is still very strong in the marketplace," Ms Giblett said.

"It's been around for almost 37 years because the commitment was there from day one, and its what the original owners worked to develop. And that's been passed down."

In the face of a major shift in the recording industry and the music retail landscape, 78s has managed to survive the move away from independent music retail outlets, most of which have gone out of business.

The new managers believe the well-established reputation and iconic status of the business has allowed it to stand the test of time.

"[The business] is really a sum of all its parts. The team that we have, we all have the same agenda, they want this business to continue and succeed," Ms Giblett said.

"If someone wants something, we can get it in. There's that atmosphere of being able to come in and spend as much time as you want having a look around; that's our point of difference."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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