Pop Music was founded by Derek Antonio, a kid who basically grew up in record stores. That kid eventually earned the opportunity to run the biggest "record store" in Canada, the HMV Superstore at Yonge & Dundas in downtown Toronto.
The 26,000 square foot Superstore was a fan’s paradise for everything music, movies & television. As General Manager, Derek's spent most of a decade trying to make the location relevant by going after unique product offers and collaborating on special events to bring fans in. He immersed himself in the buying strategy for the Superstore, leading a team of product experts who were on top of trends and could anticipate what the Superstore customer would want. While HMV Canada was doing it's best to navigate the ever changing marketplace for home entertainment; profitability was a challenge with such a large footprint of stores and the shift in consumer habits. In January 2017 the company was forced into receivership when it's owner Hilco Capital (UK) withdrew it's financial support. Just a few months later, Derek locked the doors on the Superstore for the last time.
As Derek pondered his next steps, he had this desire of going out on his own and began to write his business plan. He spent many summer afternoons meeting with industry influencers and surveying existing record stores in Toronto. As a resident of Toronto's downtown east side, Derek wanted to launch east of Yonge Street. He wanted to create something elevated that focused on the most commercial albums without a huge retail footprint. With the addition of licensed apparel and some turntable options and the vision for Pop Music was set.
As the summer progressed many locations were considered but there was just something so electric about the East Chinatown neighbourhood. In September Derek secured a small but efficient space on Gerrard East near the corner of Broadview Avenue. This popular intersection is smack dab in the middle of four thriving communities and has three major streetcar routes transporting thousands of Toronto commuters every day.
Work began to transform this space in October and product was ordered. Sticking to the vision of a curated collection of the most popular albums, Derek chose titles that sold well at HMV. For the other side of the product offer, Derek connected with key HMV vendors who would be able to provide licensed tees and collectibles featuring legacy artists. Pop Music would also provide tools for customers to get into vinyl, so Derek chose Audio-Technica as they've established such trust within the vinyl community for delivering great turntables. Lastly Derek partnered with Canadian company Kanto Audio who could provide exceptional amplified speakers to pair with turntables.
When Pop Music opened it's doors in November, it immediately grabbed the attention of local press and was featured in Now Magazine, blogTO and was fortunate enough to be showcased as a cover story for The Toronto Star. The next chapter for the brand is launching a full service online store in November 2018.
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