Van Halteren’s Music Centre launches public appeal for $100,000 to address a financial ‘tipping point’

By Geoff Coleman

Jeremy Van Halteren. Photo: Geoff Coleman.

Josh Van Halteren is making a public plea through Facebook on the fund-raising platform “” for $105,000 as Van Halteren’s Music Centre faces many pressures to stay open and expand operations.

Lindsay and area’s only music store, which is managed by Jeremy Van Halteren, is intent on remaining relevant, but a number of external forces have put the business in a make-or-break situation. As manager Jeremy Van Halteren puts it, “our financial situation is at a tipping point. We need to raise the funds in order to keep the store open and to progress with any of our future plans involving it.”

The wolf got to the door gradually. Over the last 15 years, online markets gradually became an accepted way to acquire both new instruments (think Amazon) and used gear (Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace), eroding an established sales base.

Luckily, those customers who still saw the value in holding and hearing a new instrument before buying it, continued to patronize the shop. So, too, did buyers who wanted the peace of mind that comes with buying used gear from an established store instead of a stranger in a parking lot. However, protracted bridge construction made it difficult for those people to even get in the front doors. “That happened twice. Back to back,” notes Van Halteren, the third generation to helm the shop.

Then a little thing called the COVID pandemic brought the live music industry to a halt. People were not buying gear as frequently, and the audio and lighting rental stream of the business became almost non-existent, as did in-person lessons.

Recently the arrival of a national music store chain in Peterborough undoubtedly impacted business, as did the opening of a 60,000 square foot superstore in Richmond Hill. It has become a destination as much for the shopping experience as for the products.

Taken together, these impacts have left the business teetering on the brink. “The fundraiser was started because we don’t have the means of coming up with the money ourselves,” says Jeremy who is taking over the store from his father, John.

The situation has also prompted changes around the store. Visitors to the Wellington Street shop will notice a transformation of the physical space currently underway. Roughly 1,000 square feet of what was once retail space has been cleared out and will be repurposed. Van Halteren sees it as a community space with a stage at one end used for youth open mics, or recitals. Other ideas include using it as a space for group lessons, or an artist’s fair. With community support, they want to build a hub for musicians and music enthusiasts in Lindsay and the surrounding Kawartha Lakes area.

At the same time, the convenience and service advantages that a local music store offers consumers will continue in ways that a megastore cannot provide.

“I have customers who are coming to Lindsay from the surrounding area to do some shopping or on other business, and they will call and ask if I can do a repair or change strings for them while they are on their other errands, says Van Halteren. “I can usually fit them in with a little notice, but I’m sure that same customer would be waiting for a few days at a big store.”

The year Van Halteren’s Music Centre opened, the Billboard charts were populated by artists like Al Wilson, George McCrae, and Billy Swan. Nearly 50 years later, without a dramatic reversal in fortunes, the store may be forgotten like those musical footnotes.


  1. K says:

    My apologies but if you aren’t in a position to set yourself up with a personal loan to keep up your business, why should anyone else pay for it. Everyone has financial struggles themselves. Just not a fan of “GoFundMe”, it’s online begging just without the cardboard message ask.

    • Katelynn MacKenzie says:

      I hope you never have to admit defeat and ask for help. Surely you’ll be met with more compassion than you offer.

    • R says:

      It’s called asking for help. Did you read this before writing it? What a complete dickhead. Karma sucks.

    • Nicki K Dedes says:

      Unkind. It takes a community to have a thriving economy and it starts with attitude, understanding and compassion.
      If you are a multi generational business owner like this young man, you would understand that resources have changed for small business. He is bringing this conversation out to the public for discourse and solutions.

  2. B says:

    You’ve waited too long to make the changes you need to make in order to remain in business. The proposed changes in the article sound like they would be good for the community, but it’s not going to be successful if you’re too remain in that location. No parking, and across the road from the four cast building. Maybe the commercial space next to the academy theater would work if you’re to make it a space for artists. Or there is space available next to one eye Jack’s. I couldn’t in good faith donate to this cause, putting good money after bad.

    • C says:

      What an incredibly ignorant comment. I would donate to a go fund me to teach you manners.

      • B says:

        If this business needs 100k in community support to keep the doors open they need hard truths, not good manners. Time for a major reset or otherwise liquidate the assets and move on.

  3. Sue says:

    My god this music Center has been open for how many years. Really people if you can’t afford to or choose not to offer financial support then don’t. If a big box music store is what you want have at it but many people appreciate the one on one support that they have received from Van Haltrens. COVID, construction and many other situations have taken its toll on many small businesses. If you don’t require one on one support or care about customer service then good for you but not everyone shared your attitude.

    • Jim Harris says:

      I agree Sue,
      This store has a history and many of us grew up with this being the place to go, our 45,s and albums were all bought from here, it was a place to meet and greet.
      Many of us took our first music lessons here, and the talent teaching here were as much life mentors as friends. Cudos to a man named Brian King
      The town of Lindsay while growing did do them an injustice, and covid did them no better
      I for one will be contributing as the memories and service is well worth the help we can give
      Hell if we could all give a little bit for the service they have given they would be a superstore
      I challenge all who have memories and or dealings to give a twenty or better based on your means
      Nuff said !!

  4. Gerhard Schneider says:

    I for one enjoyed my guitar lessons there and got a lot of encouragement from Van Hallterns They are asset to the community, don’t let them fade away it takes strength to ask for help.

  5. P says:

    Its not gofundme thats even gathering the funds also everyone has a opinion does it really hurt for someone to come out say how hard things have been but yes eveyones hurting but these places were closed for over 2 years without regular cash flow coming in not including income to support there family like everyone else. Loyal to community.

  6. Kim says:

    Visit the store and buy something, take music lessons, have your guitar strings changed, sell an instrument on consignment. The best way to support the store 🎶🎵🎶

  7. D says:

    If you can’t get a business loan, your business isn’t worth saving. You need profit and cash flow to run a successful business. It would suck if people donated and you close anyway in a few years. Maybe do repairs and small jobs out of your home and/or find a better location. Otherwise someone else will take your market share.

  8. Citizen says:

    Asking the community instead of taking responsibility is not the way to do things….Covid hit many business hard but doing a go fund me is not what you should do. You are responsible for your own business not the public:

  9. Mike says:

    I feel like the hundred thousand dollars would be gone in a few years if they don’t decide to change locations. That has always been a point of contention, But I watched the inventory in the store decline for years before covid, A drummer friend went in there Because he wanted to support the store, But even the selection of drumsticks was next to nothing. I do wish them luck though.

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