Tony Anselmo brought the Records on Wheels bus to Sudbury in 1974, carrying “everything from ABBA to Zappa.” When the weather got too cold, he moved his store into the Elm Street building where the TD Bank is now located.
He's changed locations seven times over the years, although he's always stayed within the same block in the downtown.
Anselmo's latest move was back in April, when he left the Elm Street unit next to Pizza Pizza where he'd been for 20 years in favour of a new location at 107 Durham St.
The 62-year-old business owner said he decided to retire for a number of reasons — some of them personal — but also because the music industry “is not what it used to be.”
These days, most people either download their music off the Internet or purchase CDs online or at big box stores.
“It's a challenge for brick and mortar stores to stay alive,” Anselmo said.
As well, back in the 1970s, Downtown Sudbury was still the city's shopping hub, but that's no longer the case, he said.
“As there's been more and more periphery development, it's kind of like the doughnut principle — nothing in the middle,” Anselmo said.
Still, he said he's very sad to close his store. “But that's life,” Anselmo said. “It's a cycle of life, so to speak.”
Anselmo said he has many regular customers who have become dear friends. Every Saturday morning, a group of people would gather at the store to discuss “everything under the sun,” including, of course, music.
“It's like taking the place of the old general store where guys would go and sit around a pot-belly stove and chew the fat over the happenings in their community,” he said.
When Anselmo changed locations last spring, so many friends and customers showed up to help him move that he didn't need any moving trucks, and was ready to open his store again the next day.
When Northern Life visited Records on Wheels Dec. 12, local musician Dayv Poulin was in the store, looking for deals.
Records on Wheels' products are currently 30 per cent off, and Anselmo said he plans to make further discounts as his stock dwindles.
The store's closure is a real loss, as it's part of the downtown's spirit and culture, said Poulin, who has sold his own CDs at Records on Wheels over the years.
“It's magical, it's fun,” he said. “It's the unplanned purchase where you come in and you browse, and you find something that really calls out to you. That's what's fun about having shops like this.”