Why Manchester-themed Cheshire Music Store is more than just a record store

A popular Manchester-themed record store in Cheshire attributed its success to being more than a “one-trick pony”. Proper Sound in Macclesfield – recently visited by music legend Peter Hook – describes itself as a “concept store” offering products and service related to a specific theme.

Lucy Wright, who runs the premises in Chestergate, thinks these types of venues are becoming increasingly fashionable and are the way forward for the high street, post-Covid. As well as selling records, the store also has clothing and artwork available for purchase, as well as its own bar and cafe, all tied to a Manchester musical theme.

For example, Proper Sound has ‘Hacienda Gin’ behind the bar and also serves its own music-inspired cocktails. It also houses the original Ian Curtis city mural of Joy Division in the courtyard, and even has an “Oasis Window” where customers can interact with the storefront, have their picture taken, and be part of the coverage of Definitely Maybe album.

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Discussing the vision behind the store, Lucy told Cheshire Live: “Basically we wanted to be retailers, but we realized you couldn’t survive with that. So we decided on a musical theme, we wanted to sell records, and then we added lots. music-related northwest things.

“A business can no longer be a one-trick pony. You have to offer something different. Like some days we retail more to get to where we need to be for the day’s revenue. days it’s more food and drink If we didn’t have that element it would be completely different for us it would just be going around in circles while what we do there is always something that someone one wants.

Proper Sound owner James King with Peter Hook.

“We have our own cocktails, with a musical touch. Then the retro menu which is good toast and stuff like that. Playing a lot on the “good” branding of this one – good screen, good cookies.

“You can buy music-related alcohol. We have Hacienda Gin. We’re selling the O’Donnell Moonshine – they’re the ones that took part in Dragon’s Den – and it’s doing great.

“Then we also sell clothing, in the back room. It’s a retro style. Future Past Clothing, we do a lot of their stuff, and then Pilgrim which is a new brand from Manchester.”

The Ian Curtis mural in the courtyard of Proper Sound.

The shop also sells artwork which proves popular with customers who sit down and have a drink or a bite to eat. Lucy explained: “People tend to buy art later because they’re sitting there.

“We tend to turn off the lights and it’s a nice, very sociable space where you can chat with people you wouldn’t normally chat with and then they look at the artwork. Then they buy it, they usually come back the next day and pick it up nicely.”

Lucy is also delighted to hear that ‘pavement licenses’ will become a permanent feature as they will give the business a big boost. She said: “It’s definitely a big help to increase your income, to be able to put something on the outside that’s eye-catching so people know what you’re doing, especially in our case because people think we’re still just a record store. We’re actually more than that. We also do food and drink, so that’s good news.

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Alice P. Darby