STANDING firm in Reading town centre is one of the area's last remaining music shops and the team has spoken out on how they manage to stay afloat ahead of its 160th birthday this year.

Hickies Music shop on Friar Street has been around since 1864, and business has reportedly been booming ever since.

Considering the number of independent businesses Reading town centre sheds each month, it’s an incredible achievement that the family-run store has managed to weather the storm.

“It’s crazy,” she said. “We still occupy the same building. We used to have the whole corner I believed but now it has just shrunk back to this shop.

“The owner actually owns the building as it's been in the family for generations. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been kept alive as we don’t have to pay extortionate rent prices.”

Ms Mackim said that another reason for their ongoing success is due to the popularity of their rental service.  

She said that during covid even when there were no customers coming in to buy things, they were able to still make a profit through hiring out their instruments.

“In terms of continuity, the money definitely comes from our rentals. We’ve been around for ages and we hopefully aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

To the older residents of Reading, Hickies used to be known as the vinyl shop where locals would go and pick out the latest records in the 70s and 80s.

Since then, the store has reduced to just selling musical instruments, which it does in abundance. The shop sells pianos, bass, orchestral instruments among many others.

Ms Mackim continued “There used to be Dawsons down the road and Apex in the Tilehurst Woodley area, but both of those have closed now.

“We have loads of regulars that come here which really helps as well. We have a lot of people in who are passionate about the scene and want to come in to support us. We really appreciate that.”

The shop has even seen customers from Reading Festival, and has since been an unlikely haunt of some international celebrities.

Ms Mackim said that American rapper and singer Post Malone bought a ‘cheap guitar’ from their store when he was headlining the festival which he then later theatrically smashed on stage.