One day after Ottawa Folklore Centre owner Arthur McGregor went on Facebook to announce the store was closing, local musicians flocked to the social media site to pay tribute to him and his store which had been a folk music hub for the last 38 years.
Arthur McGregor, owner, Ottawa Folklore Centre
The store came to life in 1976 on the corner of Bronson Avenue and Clemow Avenue before moving, and expanding, to the Bank Street location in Ottawa South that closed its doors Thursday.
“Arthur, there just aren't words to convey the sorrow I feel at this news, but I want to thank you so much for your contribution to the Ottawa, and Canadian, music community,” wrote Jack Arnold.
“This must have been a very difficult decision to make Arthur...so sorry your retirement from the store starts this way. Any chance someone could swoop in and buy the store, debt and all? Thanks for all you've done to provide glue to our music community,” wrote Pat Moore.
“You not only built a store, you built a community, you built careers in music, you built happiness for many....Very sad to see your store go, but you have made such a significant and positive contribution for so long, so Thank you,” Andrea Karam wrote.
That is just a sample of the tribute that have flooded Facebook in the the last 24 hours.
The growth of online retail and online music education had a negative effect on the store’s bottom line and it was in danger of closing last summer until it received a lifeline thanks to a benefit concert.
But in the end, it turned out the mountain was just too steep for Mr. McGregor to climb.
“In recent years the challenge of keeping the OFC alive has been steadily increasing to the point where the impact on my personal life is no longer bearable,” he wrote, adding that it became clear the business was not sustainable.
The Folklore Centre’s affairs have been turned over to bankruptcy trustees Gaston Gingras.