Sarnia's Cheeky Monkey record store to close in September

·2 min read
Mary Anne and Roland Peloza own Cheeky Monkey in Sarnia, Ont. The couple are retiring in September. (Submitted by Mary Anne and Roland Peloza - image credit)
Mary Anne and Roland Peloza own Cheeky Monkey in Sarnia, Ont. The couple are retiring in September. (Submitted by Mary Anne and Roland Peloza - image credit)

As a life-long music fan, Roland Peloza describes his decades co-owning Cheeky Monkey record store as "living the dream."

"I haven't lost any of the passion, any of the curiosity about new music. I'm always exploring new artists and new music," he said.

But now, after more than 20 years of the store being a fixture in downtown Sarnia, Roland and his wife and business partner Mary Anne are retiring.

The couple agreed to sell the building a week ago and will be vacating it by the end of September.

At this point, there's no plan to keep the store open under new ownership.

"If someone is interested, we will certainly talk to them but right now we're just in the process of winding down whatever's left," Roland said.

In an interview with Tony Doucette, host of CBC Radio's Windsor Morning, Mary Anne and Roland reflected fondly on their time in business, recalling the big lines outside on Record Store Day, hosting artists for in-store performances, and the appreciation the community has shown them.

LISTEN: Mary Anne and Roland Peloza join Windsor Morning

But after decades of working six or seven days a week, they want to be able to enjoy their health and spend time with family — and hopefully fulfil a dream of moving to Northern Ontario, Mary Anne said.

"We want to be able to enjoy each other and the world a little more without having to worry about running a business or shutting it down for a couple of weeks to go on vacation or miss family events," she said.

Jonathan Pinto/CBC
Jonathan Pinto/CBC

The store's closure will cap off almost 40 years in business for the couple. They first opened Video Zone in Wallaceburg in the early 1980s, and in 1999 they stopped offering video rentals and relocated to Sarnia, opening Cheeky Monkey.

As Mary Anne put it, the business is winding down on a good note. The closure is not related to the pandemic, which has battered many small retailers.

Roland said the store had been doing better than ever in the last few years, with the exception of during the pandemic. It fills a niche in that the store mostly sells CDs rather than records, he explained.

"It is kind of bittersweet that just when we perfect the formula... it's time to go," he said.

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