Steve’s Music’s flagship Montreal location, one of the best known musical instrument stores in Canada, is being forced to move from its St. Antoine Street location. Later this summer it will be moving to a new address on St. Catherine Street East.
“We’re moving because we’re forced to, not because we want to,” store manager Sheldon Sazant told the Montreal Gazette newspaper.
The property where Steve’s Music has been located for over 50 years was sold to a condo developer five years ago and they have now received their expropriation papers from the city.
“I’ve spent my life here as an employee and I’ve loved doing so every minute… Michael [Kirman, Vice President of Steve’s] was basically born in the store. But when you have no choice and the government sends you papers for expropriation, you either fold or you roll up your sleeves and continue,” said Sazant.
There is not a set eviction date yet, but Kirman and Sazant told the Gazette they didn’t want to wait and began making plans for a move. Their plans is to move the bulk of their operations to the new location by the end of summer.
Since its opening, the store has expanded exponentially, buying and adding neighbouring spaces in the building over the years to the point where it now has nine store fronts, making it known for its vast, maze-like layout.
The late Steve Kirman opened the store in 1965 amongst a strip of pawn shops in the Old Montreal area of the city. “Up until ’71, my grandfathers had a pawn shop located in what’s now our drum shop. My dad started this business when he was 18; he passed a couple years ago, so a lot of his experience is still in the building,” Michael Kirman, Steve’s son and company VP, told the Gazette. “That part is going to be very emotional for all of us. We’re trying to get the spirit of this building into the new business. It’s like losing my father again, in a certain sense. But we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Steve’s Music remains in many ways a family operation. Steve Kirman’s wife Lea is company President and his brother, Bill, oversees purchasing for Steve’s Music’s five locations in Canada. “I was working in the store regularly in the ’90s, and our managers have been here since the ’80s, some since the ’70s,” Michael Kirman told* Canadian Music Trade* in 2015.
“We had the best teacher,” Sazant also told CMT about Steve Kirman a couple years after his passing. “He would bend over backwards for his clientele. He would put gear into his car and drive it to people’s homes. It’s not easy, but every day we open the doors, we look forward to a great day. Dave [Gantz, Montreal store co-manager] and I worked with Steve for 35 years; we know how he did things and we’ve tried to nurture that and keep it going.”
For more information, go to www.stevesmusic.com.