With business slow in Corner Brook after months under COVID-19 restrictions, a Corner Brook store owner hopes a new mural brightens the mood and brings in the shoppers.
Sheldon Power, who owns Village Music, a musical equipment on Broadway, installed a colourful mural on the building to attract people to the area because the pandemic has all but stopped people from coming to his store.
"Inside my store there is a stage and there was always people inside playing. The store was packed with amazing players. Since COVID, I don't see anybody," he said.
Power says most of his business now comes from online shoppers.
The mural depicts the scene from the Beatles' Abbey Road album cover, but instead of John, Paul, George and Ringo, the mural features four Corner Brook-area musicians walking across the famous London crosswalk.
"I wanted people who were true to their instrument," said Sheldon Power.
To that end, the mural features Keelan Purchase ("He's a great accordion player. He's played in the store a bunch of times," said Power), Wade Jones ("He's the only professional ugly stick player I know. He's played with Anchors Away for 30 years") and Leah Vokey Sing ("She used in instruct violin here").
The fourth musician is Power himself.
"I didn't want to be in the mural, but my wife, Tanya, said, 'Sheldon, you gotta be,'" he said.
See the mural and what people think of it in the video below.
Power asked a former art teacher of his, Lorne Bishop, to put his idea to canvas.
Bishop was up for the task and completed the giant painting in just 35 days, working in a makeshift art studio in the basement of Village Music. The City of Corner Brook sponsored the mural, the Paint Shop across the street from Village Music provided the art supplies, and Corner Brook company Awntech Signs installed it.
Bishop said he's very proud of the result.
"I'm happy with the way it turned out. It's turned out very close to the way I envisioned it," he said.
Bishop jumped at the chance to bring Power's idea to life because he loves Abbey Road and wanted to add traditional Newfoundland and Labrador music's "movement and gaiety" to the iconic cover.
"Newfoundland music is fun and I wanted to capture the fun of it," he said.
Now that the painting is up, Power hopes it will attract people to his shop and other stores on Broadway, in the city's downtown.
"This is promoting local. We want people to come to Broadway, and what a beautiful way to bring people to Broadway," he said.
Chris Rogers, who owns a menswear store across the street from the mural, called it an "awesome idea."
"It's really unique for the street. It brings people around to look at the mural which we need downtown. More colour," said Rogers, who has been in business for 28 years. He said the past several months have been difficult, given a lot of his sales are in formal wear, and most weddings and graduations were cancelled this year.
"I think more people are coming to support us now in the downtown, especially with the COVID going on and we definitely need the business," he said.