Aardvark Boutique Audio puts quality over convenience

September 9, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Aardvark Boutique Audio, at 74 Broad- way in Downtown Orangeville, is part of a movement of quality over convenience, of independent over chain, of intimate over corporate.

Even the words used to advertise the store speak to this mindset, as owner Peter Wolter explained.

“The words ‘humble hi-end’ are a part of my logo and the language of my advertising. Taken together, humble and high end is an attempt to communicate that while the boutique offers music playback that begins where the ‘big box’ stores end, the extra cost is focused on value and, equally important, that we seek out all clients, regardless of knowledge, budget, or musical taste.”

“I wanted to create an in store environment and experience that clients will feel at home in, the moment they walk into the store,” he added. “As my mother was fond of saying, ‘we’re too poor to buy cheap… wait and buy once’.”

At first glance, Orangeville might seem an odd location for a hi-fi shop, but as Peter points out, there isn’t a single hi-fi shop within 50 kilometres, and there is a vibrant local arts community. “There is no access to even entry level hi-fi products.” He said. “You just need to spend a few minutes in Downtown Orangeville to get a sense of a vibrant town that is reclaiming the downtown area as a place to go.”

This lack of hi-fi shops is due to a change in the way people listen to music, and the way they’re prioritized it in their lives. It’s become a matter of convenience over quality, and while, as Peter says, there is a place for MP3s and iPods, that place shouldn’t be the home.

People should be able to sit and actually hear the music they want to listen to, and recently, there seems to have been a resurgence of people who feel this way. This change is due to, in his words, “a return to a passion for listening to music. And an explo- sion of sales in used and new vinyl, turnta- bles, and yes, tube amplification.”

“The point being,” he went on. “more and more people, both young and those reconnecting to their record collections, want more from their music system of components. That’s where Aardvark Boutique Audio can help.”

There already is a community of people who are going to be interested, and all that’s needed now is to communicate to them that the store exists, and it’s waiting for them to come down and rediscover everything that they love about music.

Of course, Orangeville can also be a tough environment for a new business. It is, after all, a relatively small town, and it takes real passion and drive to make it work. “You need to do more than just open your door, you need to let them know you exist, let them know what you offer.” Peter says.

Despite the challenges, Peter is confident that the shop will survive. “I think the time is right, the location is right, and the product selection is right.”

He is also keen to present an environment that people will enjoy, and a return to the values of yesterday’s hi-fi shop. This means treating all customers equally, and offering more than just products.

“This is not about selling what’s in the store. What I have to offer is my advice and my time.”

Equally important to the environment he has created in-store is the environment he’s working to create online.

“I’m not going to leave any stone unturned,” he said.

As for social media, he recognizes that it’s a big part of life today, and he is going to try to be unconventional in his approach to marketing and promotion – case in point: his first large promotional event was an evening of vinyl playback at the Opera house.

Even if he wants to promote the values of yesterday’s hi-fi shop, he’s not stuck in the past.

He aims to explore the maximum of what social media can offer him promotionally, along with setting up strong collaborations with other like-minded places, including Aardvark Music and Culture, Orangeville’s well-established and popular music store and lesson studio.

Another of these collaborations is a ‘satellite installation’ in The Bartlett Gallery, which features a beautiful stereo system. These strong connections in the arts community are just one of many signs that Aardvark Boutique Audio is not your typical store; it’s something much, much better.

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