A Devon music trader has demonstrated his commitment to bricks and mortar shopping by giving his online business a town centre outlet.
Westlake Audio was setup as an online business and has been very successful over the past six years.
The business specialises in collectable, rare and high-end equipment including Hi-Fi, guitars, accessories, vinyl LPs and CDs.
Now owner, Paul Westlake has opened a shop in Union Street, Newton Abbot, where all fresh stock, new and pre-owned, will be displayed for sale before being posted online.
The first customer through the door was former Pop Will Eat Itself and The Beat drummer, Fuzz Townsend, who travelled from Birmingham to snap up a vintage drum kit identical to the one he’d first played in his youth.
“Fuzz was amazed to find a kit of that age and calibre and so became our first paying customer,” said Teignmouth-born Westlake who has a life-long passion for music and is also a keen guitarist.
Now in his early fifties (though he doesn’t look a day over 49), as a teenager he worked in music shops around Torbay and Exeter then later dabbled with sound engineering. If you recall a shop in Market Street called ‘Jeff Williams’, you’ll likely remember Paul running the guitar section for many years.
Almost two decades ago he opened a small stall in Newton Abbot’s indoor market but that has now expanded to become one of the biggest sellers of used LP’s and CD’s in Devon.
Then six years ago Westlake became involved in a project to clear audio equipment from the BBC and Royal Opera House. It was that which provided the initial stock for his online business.
Speaking about the new shop he said: “The idea was to bring to the high street a lot of the interesting, high-end and collectable hi-fi I’d been dealing exclusively online, and for people to be able to come and hear it, to talk about it and have some fun with it.” “It’s part of our ethic that all fresh stock will be in the shop for at least month before going onto our website as I want people to be rewarded for coming to the town centre. I want them to have the first chance to buy.”
According to Westlake the demand for vinyl has never been greater, particularly among the younger generations who never experienced it the first time around.
Also sought after are the very best turntables, amplifiers and speakers, such as a pair of locally-made Graham Audios that Westlake is selling for a cool £20,500….
His guitars are often locally handmade too, or ones players would struggle to find elsewhere.
Aware that not everyone has deep pockets, Westlake said: “I want people to be able to come in here with £10 and leave with something interesting which pleases them. It might be a record cleaning cloth or new cable, perhaps a CD or LP they’ve not heard before. I didn’t want this to be like every other music shop, I want people to have their own adventure in audio and for us to help them create something that works for them. We’re not scared of recommending vintage kit being paired with new, it’s about creating the right system and matching it to the individual.”
“We’re also very much into recycling pre-loved audio, we’ll always try and part exchange or purchase items as we don’t like the idea of them going to the tip. There’s much pleasure in buying them and seeing them restored, even if it is a labour of love at times! Yes, the happiest thing I can do is sell something but if I can buy too, that’s great as I just love it so much.”
Westlake Audio can be located at 1a Union Street, Newton Abbot, TQ12 2JX and is open on Tuesday to Saturday from 10am – 4pm. Private appointments can be catered for on Sunday and Monday.
For more information please call 07967 670522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org