Saturday will be a sad day for Longford town, as the Music Centre closes its doors for the final time after more than three decades in business.
A goldmine for the latest aCDs and DVDs, the Music Centre also stocks a wide range of ornaments and paraphernalia and prior to the announcement that it is to close, it was the county’s only Ticketmaster outlet.
At the helm for 12 years, Debra Dowler worked at the shop for many more besides, and oversaw the relocation of the shop from Ballymahon Street to its current home at New Street seven years ago.
Giving the reasons behind her decision to close, Debra was forthright.
“It’s just the way the town has gone. It’s gone very quiet, rates are high, there’s anti-social behaviour during the day - people are afraid to come into town,” she claimed.
She went on to say that for things to improve “the council need to take off the blindfold and see what’s going on”.
In the past two years, the business has also been hit by by the number of people downloading music, as well as artists selling CDs and merchandise at their gigs.
Over its thirty-five years, however, the Music Centre remained at the hub of live music events and in years gone by, artists such as Mick Flavin and D-Side visited when promoting their latest releases.
Debra laughed; “One particular instance was when the Carter twins were here - some people even wanted the bottles they were drinking out of!
Such was the excitement over the twins, they had to come up with a novel way to distract fans away from the front door.
“We had to pretend we had a back door out onto Breadon’s Lane!”
In more recent years, the premises was at the centre of events when Garth Brooks, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and even Cartown tickets went on sale.
“Garth Brooks would have been the biggest queue ever,” Debra revealed.
“But everyone was always good and it was always fun.”
Speaking as she continued to invite locals in to browse through the closing down sale, Debra paid tribute to the loyal customers, concluding; “I want to say a huge thank you to all our customers throughout the years - it’s the end of an era.”