NZ's longest-running record store in Wellington lives on with change of ownership

New Zealand's longest running independent record store, Slow Boat in Wellington has survived recessions, the advent of the internet and so far, the pandemic.

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Slowboat in Wellington has survived recessions, technology, and so far the pandemic. Source: 1 NEWS

Now after 35 years its owner has sold the shop to two long time workers keeping the music alive for the next generation.

It's a music collector's heaven with around 100,000 records and CDs spanning all tastes.

Founder, Dennis O'Brien bought the Cuba Street building, an old bank in the 1980s.

The shop has hosted concerts and has gained a celebrity following, Mr O’Brien saying that actor Martin Freeman used to come in “a lot".

But the store has also had its challenges.

"There were halcyon days when CDs came in and everything just roared along, records fine and dandy. and then came downloading and we lost a generation or two perhaps,” says Mr O’Brien.

Vinyl has struggled for years but Slow Boat has stuck by the old LP and caught the resurgence.

"They are items of beauty, records. they have certain advantages. and what I always say is they age as you age so that as you get older, they get older,” Mr O’Brien says.

Now as he gets older, it's time for him to hand over the reins, selling the business to long-time staffers Steven Hinderwell and Jeremy Taylor.

“Music retail started with independent record stores and it will probably end up with them I think. You know in places like the UK big box music retailers your HMVs and those kind of places have closed down,” he says.

Mr Taylor says he plans to keep Slow Boat record true to itself, just how the regulars like it.