Friday, May 29, 2009

The Record Warehouse History

Logo Designed by Dick Frizzell

Record and Cassette Warehouse officially established by Michael Dow in October 1977 with the opening of the flagship store in Durham St. The grand opening promotion was the in store signing of local band Hello Sailor to a recording contract.

At the time it was the biggest store in NZ with a floor space of 7000 sq ft and over 50,000 records and cassettes in stock and it was the first record store in NZ to model itself on the Tower Records store in Los Angeles by featuring albums displayed "face" on and displayed in special racks floor to ceiling allowing customers to easily access and select albums

The RW created a strong brand by creative, innovative and aggressive marketing and were the first record retailer to heavily use radio station advertising and promotions often with the record companies to promote the store and specific artists and albums at the time. This effectively raised the bar enormously as far as Record and Cassette retailing in NZ was concerned and set the bench mark for future retail stores.

Back in the day trading hours was 7am to 9pm Monday to Friday !!! The only retail operation to open its doors so early certainly in Queen St as the concept was to capture the market for people who wanted to browse before and after work

The RW then began to open the doors on Saturday, which at that time was against the law in NZ. The only legal retailing allowed by the law at the time was for the ordinary local Dairy to sell selected items over the weekend.RW were fined every weekend by inspectors whose job it was to keep tabs on this illegal practice.

This prompted Michael Dow to crusade for legal Saturday Trading and with help of several other Queen St retailers he formed the Auckland Inner City Progressive Retailers Association. The slogan was "Iam a Saturday Shopper" and badges, T Shirts and other such merchandise were freely distributed to the public as they began to swarm into Queen St on a Saturday to shop in the stores that were openly defying the law at the time. The end result after several months of embarrassing the Government at the time was for the eventual introduction of legal weekend shopping !!!


- A number of instore promotions by many artists visiting NZ at the time including;

Kate Bush
Billy Idol
The Police
Elvis Costello and the Attractions
The Specials
The Knack

- The Breakfast In America instore promotion for band Supertramp new release. RW provided all day free American Breakfasts and the opportunity to pre buy the album ahead of the official release date by purchasing a voucher for the album at a special discounted price. The album went Gold in NZ before actual release through this event.


- The 2 for $20 promotion that featured a selection of 10 different albums every week ....[ then a discounted price at the time for full price albums]

- The RW preferential discount card giving members a 15% discount on everything in the store for LIFE !!!!

- RW also had a Mail Order Dept that aggressively marketed special deals not unlike Richard Branson who started Virgin Records in this manner.

- RW sold more singles than any other record store in NZ at the time.

No comments: