‘Exciting changes in the industry’ have sparked business motivation, says former Moore owner (8 photos)

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Moore’s Audio Video was one of the few local stores to meet the audio-visual needs of Sault, a Queen Street landmark for decades.

The business started in 1909 as Anderson Music, said John Moore, who co-owned and operated Moore’s with his brother Jim in his later decades.

John’s grandfather, Clarence Moore, started working for Anderson Music in the 1920s and eventually took over the business, changing the name to Moore.

“My dad (Paul Moore) got into the business and started out, like me and my brother, as a delivery guy,” recalls John, speaking to SooToday.

The official name of the company has changed over the years.

John, looking through old photos in a phone interview, said: “When it started it was Moore’s with a big ‘Radio’ sign above it.”

From the 1950s and until the 1970s it was called Moore’s Electric, then in the 1970s Paul Moore changed it to Moore’s Audio Video. In the late 90s, it became known as Moore’s Audiotronic.

Paul Moore died in 2019.

“He had a great life and no regrets. We had a great relationship. I have a lot to be thankful for, ”said John.

Paul Moore became the owner / operator of the store in the 1960s, then in the late 1980s John and his brother Jim took over.

John really enjoyed being part of a family business.

“Jim and I complemented each other. We were different, ”said John, with the two brothers bringing their own skills and strengths to the business. “My father was in the background as a consultant. So the relationship was great.

The store moved from one space to the east in 1996, the former space now housing the gift and Bible book store.

“My grandfather Clarence was always interested in ‘the latest news’. In the 1950s he had a Beatty Automatic Washer Travel Show truck. Basically it was showing people why they needed an automatic washer that you plugged in, rather than a ringing washer. Whenever something new came out, it was always an opportunity to sell people why you would want this item, ”John said.

“With my grandfather, it was also refrigerators … some guy would come to your house with ice cream on a hook and you had a big chunk of ice cream and put it in your cooler.” It was probably delivered on horseback and buggy at some point, ”John sneered.

“With my father, he had good business acumen and a fascination with products. He was good at spotting trends and bringing out the best in salespeople to make it work. ”

The company sold musical instruments such as organs and pianos in the 1960s and 1970s, later withdrawing from that part of the business, with John and Jim relaunching Moore’s offering of pianos and keyboards during some time in the 1980s and 1990s.

Sometimes kids don’t continue their family business or follow in their parents’ footsteps by opting for different career paths.

But, John told us “my brother and I grew up with it”.

“Originally my dad didn’t want us in the business because owning your own business could be a tedious and time consuming task. My brother and I went to school for other things. But when we finished school, it was in the mid-1980s and the business was booming, and we were really interested in trends. The hi-fi equipment and car stereo equipment were big, so it was pretty exciting back then. We were trained and dad needed help at the time as well. We both rolled up our sleeves and hopped in.

“In the 1970s, the big sellers were color televisions, as well as stereos. If you think about demographically, there were a lot of young men coming into Algoma Steel. That’s when Pioneer and Marantz and all the stereo stuff would come out and get big. We have gone into this area in a big way, ”said John.

“There would be these car radio competitions. The Alpine stereo car would arrive in town. It would be a Camaro with stereo equipment valued at $ 10,000. I was in my late teens and early twenties and saw this, thinking it was the coolest thing ever. So we have our own demo car. I had a car with the Alpine and Moore logos just to promote it.

“I was in it huge,” he chuckled.

Remembering the days of St. Joseph Island Cornfest, with live bands, John said, “I had the car there sometimes, would open the doors, play the stereo and do my own post show gig. . ”

“Then in the 1980s there were all kinds of new trends. My brother and I got into all kinds of new things, like digital satellite dishes.

Moore, of course, has been in home video from the start.

VCRs were large, sometimes quite heavy, and could cost around $ 1,000, John recalls.

“It was a lot of money, but people were buying them,” John said.

Eventually John and Jim pulled out of movie rentals as big chains like Blockbuster were part of the landscape.

“Another great thing was the Walkman. The music players were enormous. Video cameras were another important element. ”

“The original full-size VHS size video camera was quite large. We sold a few of them and then these Sony 8mm cameras came out. They were considered small, but they were still the size of a woman’s purse, ”John said.

Interestingly, some of the emerging audiovisual devices never took off, either locally or globally, with these devices now relegated to the “historical curiosity” category.

These include the vertical decks, music cassette-sized movies for sale or rental, and the laser disc. These elements have been overtaken by other audiovisual innovations.

Through it all, the Moore family has kept up with ever-changing audiovisual trends to stay competitive.

“We read a lot of trade magazines and went to trade shows,” John said.

“The most important thing for me was the sound.”

“I have always been and still am a huge fan of music. For me, the hi-fi system, good sound, whether through a home stereo or a car stereo, that was what attracted me, ”said John, a live music lover who enjoys watching video recordings of concerts on Blu-ray.

Moore’s, which still served what they sold, closed in 2004.

It was John and Jim Moore’s decision, taken with foresight and wisdom.

“It was bittersweet. At the end of the 1990s, the steel plant was on the verge of bankruptcy. There was more competition for us with the big box stores. We’ve also seen the Internet and online sales come. Even some of our suppliers were selling online. ”

“We were all on the same page,” said John, saying the decision to close was unanimous among members of the Moore family, all of Moore’s staff had the dignity of being told that the doors to the business would close well in advance.

For John, it changed life at the time.

“It was scary. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Not only was it my profession and my life, but it was who I was. It was my identity. So when he closed, it was like “who am i?” i had to reinvent myself, but i love what i do now.

When Moore closed, John first worked in sales elsewhere, before becoming a small business advisor in Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC).

He now works for the Ontario Ministry of Labor, Training and Skills Development.

John said he missed the days when buying an album with backing notes was the norm, being able to hold a physical object like yours, before the current era of downloadable music and compressed audio.

Does John have any advice for young people who want to start their own business?

“A lot of it comes down to finding a niche and providing a service you can’t get online or in a big box,” noting that he buys as much as he can from local merchants for all of his needs.

As with any life / work experience, John said his time at Moore had posed challenges, but recalled that “there were a lot of positives”.

“You remember the relationships. There were great clients, exciting changes in the industry that made you, motivated you to work harder. It was exciting to see these technological changes. ”

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