Musicians’ candy store closing after 42 years: It’s a loss

De winkel van Kees en Leonie gaat sluiten.

After 42 years, the final chord of Muziekcentrum Van Gorp will sound in Roosendaal at the end of July. Musicians from all over the world have been coming to this place for years to clean horn valve caps, to test out a drum kit or to tune a bass guitar. So the news of the closure came as a bolt from the blue: “It’s a loss for the musicians.”

Profile photo of Eva de Schepper

“I once started with an empty leather schoolbag containing loose instruments,” says Kees Van Gurk, founder of Music Center. “In all those years we have developed into a company of national and international reputation.”

He runs the sack store with his wife, Leonie. “Customers love coming here, they’re willing to drive away,” she says. “Our customers are all over the world. From Belgium, Germany and France to Australia and New York,” Case sums up.

“The guys who work here have really become friends.”

In the guitar corner, Jan Schurmans sits on a stool by the Chesterfield sofa, jingling while singing softly. The news of the closure hit him hard. “The guys who work here have really become friends,” says de Rosendaler. “This farewell comes so suddenly. It is a huge loss for all the musicians in the region.”

Yannick Maas admires the wall with the ukulele. “I have a bright pink myself. I once bought it somewhere for thirty euros. Time to upgrade!” She enjoys browsing the huge store. “It’s a pity they’ve stopped. It’s always so easy to bring your instrument here when something’s broken.”

Running a shop as a couple wasn’t always easy for Kees and Leonie. However, they always ended up together. “We’re a team. I’m the entrepreneur and Leonie is the organizer,” Case says. And his wife adds, “We reinforce each other.”

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“But we didn’t do it alone. Our people have helped build the company all these years,” Case says. “Take Richard, who’s been with us for 32 years. And Mark for 27.”

“It’s a sensation here, a real candy store.”

With her son, Colinda Jacobs admires the sousaphone. Steenbergse has been in the shop for years. “Since my kids started playing instruments. They really sell everything related to music here. It’s really a pleasure to come here. It’s like a candy store.”

“It’s a shop, and you can’t run it halfway through. It’s all or nothing. We’ve given everything so far,” Leonie says softly, after which she looks down at Sack with teary eyes. “These are tough weeks for us,” Case says. “Sleepless nights sometimes. How are we going to do everything, how are we going to arrange it?” However, the two are desperate for more freedom. “We go hiking, cycling and traveling.”

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