Miramichi. A lovely community that thrives on music! A place where local artist can emerge and discover who they are and where they stand in the music community. If there is one place that all local and visiting musicians stop at for the latest gear, accessories, instruments or a friendly chat. That place is Vince’s Opry Music Store!
Recently, I sat down with the Co-owner of Vince’s Opry Music Store, Melita Mullin. We met at Vince’s Music Store and with coffee in hand, we began chatting about the history, the services and the inspirations of Vince’s Opry Music Store.
Melita: “It’s originally the Opry music store, but due to the fact that Opry is such a niche for one thing, we decided to keep the Opry involved in the name but call it Vince’s Opry Music Store…to keep it simple..everyone knows Vince, so by word of mouth its Vince’s music store but its technically Vince’s Opry music store”
Vince Mullin, A musician born and raised in Miramichi has been playing instruments for over 3 decades. He enjoys the simple things in life. When he’s not working tirelessly on repairing guitars and running a business with his wife Melita Mullin. Vince enjoys the company of good friends, playing guitar and riding his motorcycle.
Music has not only been a passion in Vince’s life, but also his destiny. With his father being the famous Billy Mullin. A man who was well-known for his musical talents around New Brunswick as well as being inducted in the New Brunswick Hall of Fame. Billy Mullin also owned and operated the Miramichi Country Music Opry in Red Bank. Vince has not only been surrounded by music but deeply rooted by instruments, singing voices and nylon strings.
Melita:”Vince started playing guitar at 10 years old…he gets the motivation from his father. He can pick up any instrument and just play!”
Melita, however was born in Newfoundland and left at an early age to find out who she was and to find her calling in life. She made a life for herself in Ontario, going to school and working tirelessly as a single mother but as life happens and gets the best of us. Ontario was no longer an option for this self-made accomplished woman. With passion fueling her desire to accomplish something greater in her life, she made her way to Miramichi.
Melita: “I was born in Newfoundland! Then in my teenage years, I moved to Ontario and have done many things along the way…I was a journeyman 1,2,3 in book binding and printing…basically moved around a lot in Ontario but then in 2003, I needed a change for myself and my son, an being a single mom, we made it to Miramichi!”
In life, one common goal is to find your soul-mate, the one person you can share this world with and for Melita, that one person is Vince. She shared the story of her meeting him and how she was captivated by his charm, friendly personality and musical skills.
Melita: “When I got to the Miramichi and I got together with Vince. He asked me what can I do with a guitar..well I had the strumming right! (being right-handed, I only knew a few things from my father’s left-handed guitar) so he gave me a sheet of paper with chords on it and I went home and used my sons guitar and I was addicted! It’s funny cause I couldn’t keep the guitar in-tuned and I would keep purposely untuning the guitar just to keep going back and seeing Vince!
The classic story of humble beginnings, Vince and Melita Mullin, hand in hand, opened the Opry music store with Vince’s parents Billy and Betty Mullin in a commercial space on King George Highway while living upstairs of the establishment.
Vince and Melita worked tirelessly, day in and day out, spending the working day selling instruments and accessories, contacting big name franchises in an attempt to bring a variety of instruments to Miramichi. Not only did Vince and Melita create a business that provided excellent quality but also amazing customer service that made musicians and music enthusiast feel like they were at home.
Melita: “The Store is Vince’s baby! We were self-confident, that we would make it work..we were determined!, we wanted to have the music store here in Miramichi. We wanted to supply Miramichi with music.”
Melita shared an interesting fact when Vince and herself were just starting out.
Melita: “Vince started out in the back of that shop, on that highway with 3 amps, 2 boxes of strings and maybe 4 guitars back in 2005! ”
“We started out, living above the establishment, and running a 24/7 emergency service for musicians, basically we lived above the music shop for 6 years then we got our own home. Once we didn’t have enough space available, we decided to move to the New Castle area at 115 jail street”
Melita humorously added.
Melita: ” What a great place for a music store, on jail street!”
Melita added that like any small business trying to grow, it was tough at times.
Melita: “It was difficult at times because we had to wait for certain brands to show up, For the first few years it was nothing but no name guitars. Our work was put into the lessons and repairs..the other stuff comes afterwards. Their were times we had to take from our own pockets and to build what we have but it always paid off. there is nothing, nobody can’t do.”
Melita shared her milestone when she knew that everything was going to work out.
Melita: “Peavey and Ibanez is a brand, we will always be loyal too because they were always behind us from the start! an exciting moment for us was when we got our first Takamine guitars! after that, came the Gibson’s then the Fenders, they all came. We knew we were going to be okay!
With the a new location opening up on 115 jail street, Vince and Melita Mullin made the move in great strides. Providing the community with excellent services and tools that all musicians and events needed.
Melita: “Along with guitar lessons. We do in store guitar string changes. Guitar repairs. We also provide sound gear for events for downtown Newcastle. If someone has a problem with putting their drums together, I will bring their drums to their house and put them all together! Also if somebody is moving out-of-town, and they want to ship their guitars, as long as they pay for the shipping and handling, I will properly pack the instruments and ensure that the instrument will show up in one piece.
I asked Melita if she had any exciting stories to share or any special encounters with musicians over the years of running a music store.
Melita: “I actually got to met Blue rodeo because the guitar technician came up to my old store on king George highway and walked in and asked if we were going to the show tonight and we said we might not because we been working late…he offered VIP tickets and we didn’t believe it! we though he was pulling our leg! We decided to go anyways and sure enough, we had the tickets waiting! We were able to go on their tour bus and just hang out with them! It was awesome.”
Over the years, Vince and Melita have seen many faces and many customers have turned into lasting friendships. I have always found that Vince’s Opry Music Store provided a safe, judge-free zone for youth and adults who are interested in expanding their music. A place where all is welcomed! This writer has fond memories of visiting Vince and Melita when they were just starting out and I credit them, personally, as an inspiration and for coaching me during my journey of finding music.
Melita: “It’s amazing, seeing all these talented people!, the people who come in and you finally get to hear them try something out and its amazing and what I find impressive, is that over the years at being a music store is like yourself. I’ve known you for years. I’ve watched you play music in high school, coming in and playing my junky old guitars that I had for resale or my used guitars and now I’m seeing you, grown up and I see your children getting into music and also having people like Taylor Sheasgreen (from lionsault) being my guitar teacher at my store….there’s people growing up at my store before my eyes and no matter where they are, when they come home..the first place they stop is my store, just to say hi!”
I asked Melita what’s next for Vince’s Opry Music Store and she shared a passionate dream of hers that I found quite exciting!
Melita: “I would love to have a music school! If I could have a music school. To be able to provide an area attached to the store to teach more people music lessons!, in order to have that I need the community to support it”
Melita delivered a message to anyone who is trying to achieve the impossible
Melita: “Basically don’t ever give up, it’s the constant persistence of things, it’s your goals, it’s your dreams..believe what you dream!, it’s not always the easy way but it’s the right way!”
Vince and Melita Mullin successfully created and built a business with hundreds of positive feedback from customers, community members, everyone. I asked Melita if she could change one thing during the entire history of Vince’s Opry music store. She simply said…
” I wouldn’t change anything.. because everything is dear to my heart..”
I would like to thank Melita Mullin for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk to me for this interview, everyone can check out their Facebook page and also stop in and say hello to Melita and Vince at 115 Jail Street, Miramichi NB.
The Modern Type Writer