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The Music Has Stopped At Ampang Park

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KUALA LUMPUR – Good “melodious’’ memories is all that is left now that Love Music Center (M) Sdn Bhd has decided to call it quits after being in business for 44 years at Malaysia’s oldest shopping centre, Ampang Park, which closed for good on Dec 31, 2017 to make way for the Ampang Mass Rapid Transit station.

The last few days of business seemed to have triggered many sweet memories for the owners, Ong and his wife Tina, who saw their customers coming to support their last operating day on New Year’s Eve.

Established in 1974, Love Music had moved in sync with the evolution of the music industry starting from vinyl records, cassettes, CDs (compact disc) and DVDs (digital versatile discs).

Ong expressed sadness at having to see the shopping mall being demolished soon but was glad to have served several generations over the years.

Relieving sweet memories of his hey-days at Ampang Park, Ong, who started the business in 1974 before he married Tina, said business was very good back than.

“The margin was quite good, rental was cheap, at about RM20 to RM30 per sq ft, and many locals and foreign customers patronised my outlet for original records, cassettes and CD/DVDs.

“But now, with changing times and the emergence of digital technology and free song or album download website-links, we are no longer the “place-to-go” as before,” Ong said, adding that he bought over the shop 15 years later.

While other tenants looked for other places like the Great Eastern Mall and Ampang Point to relocate their businesses, the 67-year old grandfather now had no plans to continue operating the music store business.

“We will close down permanently, totally close, because if we relocate to other places or shopping malls for example, the rental will be quite high. We not only cannot survive but have to compete with the music industry trend of nowadays.

“Unless, we enjoy higher sales….but that is impossible. We used to have three other branches in the Klang Valley but with higher rentals of between RM7,000 and RM8,000 per month, we cannot afford it any more.

“We need to close our other outlets too, one by one,” he lamented.

Ong recollected the nostalgic days in 1996 when ‘Nasyid’ band ‘Raihan’ released their best-selling debut album which sold more than 600,000 pieces, nationwide.

“It was a very joyous moment than as there were so many people, especially Muslim customers, who thronged my outlet, non-stop, to buy the cassette, CD or DVD version of the album. We are going to miss those moments,” said a Ong, with a hint of melancholy in his voice.

Meanwhile, repeat customer, Nor Faridah Abdul Rashid, who usually shopped for CDs at Love Music said she enjoyed shopping there as its friendly staff made it a cozy outlet.

“I used to come here (Ampang Park) once every three months since the late 1980s and whenever I receive my salary, I will definitely stop by at the music store to buy latest CDs.

“I will miss the place especially the music store since it sold CDs of my favourite genres,” she added.

The Ampang Park Shopping Mall was packed on New Year’s Eve as shoppers went there to relive their memories and to take advantage of the various promotions and to purchase discounted items.

As the saying goes; “All good things must come to an end” but there is no denying that the closing down of Ampang Park is bittersweet for many but it is also a symbol of progress.

It means that we’re giving way for something bigger and better for the nation. – BERNAMA

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