While Greater Victoria’s big dogs battle each other for music store supremacy, one independent merchant is quietly celebrating his 30th year in the music business.
Alloy Music’s Tim Boorman, a former muffler shop mechanic whose passion for guitars and sound was developing during the days he was cleaning grease from under his fingernails, has fought to win and retain customers by spending time with people and going that extra mile in terms of service.
Guitars, basses, ukuleles and even a few fiddles line the front walls of his Station Avenue shop, in a nondescript building in Langford on Station Avenue across from the bus exchange.
While he’ll happily sell you an instrument or an amplifier or any number of sound accessories, and give you a detailed lowdown on how to get the most out of all of them, Boorman has some definite specialties.
“I like to set up guitars so that they play like a more expensive instrument,” he says, describing one technique known as “fret dressing.” That involves filing down the frets on a guitar then reshaping them so they serve the same function but give the player a more comfortable feel.
It’s one of the ways he gives a client what they need, without forcing them to spend a great deal of money. It’s been like that for most of the 30 years he’s been in the business.
The music retail business has changed over that time, he says, and smaller operators like him have been forced to get more creative with their offerings.
An expert in sound design and wiring concerns for musicians, he’s taken to doing speciality work such as re-coning speakers.
“We fix things where nobody else does,” he says. “There’s a lot of things that are fixable rather than throwing them out.”
Boorman ran Alloy Music out of a space in the Westbrook Plaza for 20 years on Goldstream Avenue, but he got to a point where he needed to cut costs and moved around the West Shore for five years until landing on Station Avenue about five years ago.
A personable guy and inquisitive musician – a longtime guitar player, he’s trying his hand at violin these days and is not bad – Boorman loves to chat and is full of stories. As anyone who has known him for a while can attest, even new customers who share an interest in any aspect of music, he’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of people, instruments and sound setups. He remembers past guitars he’s worked on and the customers who brought them in.
He’s got several lesson spaces in the back of the shop, with teachers working with players of all ages. “And unlike some places, you can pay as you go – and you learn what you want, not what somebody else wants to teach you.”
You can check out Alloy Music’s offerings online at alloymusic.ca, by dropping by #4-865 Station Ave. or calling 250-478-6800.