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Mid-Week Mugging: Northland Music

Music good for the soul, says owner of well-established local music store
Northland Music owner/operator Mark Mizzi with guitar and SooToday mug. Darren Taylor/SooToday

Northland Music, located at 312 Queen St. E., was never meant to be a permanent business.

Mark Mizzi, Northland Music owner, started up his business in 1984 at a Wellington Street West location.

Trained as a registered nurse, Mizzi told SooToday "it was just a small, little place, very tiny. I came from a medical background, so it was just meant to be a temporary thing until work picked up in the medical field.”

But ‘temporary’ gave way to permanent, as business began to grow for Mizzi.

“I got the bug for the music business,” said Mizzi, who, as a drummer (who also plays guitar), most recently played in a local Neil Diamond tribute band.

“I basically never looked back, I just shelved the nursing thing and went full bore on building the store up.”

“To be downtown is vital for us,” Mizzi said.

“My business really grew when we moved here.  We’re right in the centre of everything and we have tons of foot traffic. We have a large display window and a constant billboard we keep lit all night long, 24 hours, and I don’t know how many guitars or amps I’ve sold to people who saw the sign driving by at night when we were closed, and they’ve come back the next day and bought from us.”

Northland Music sells everything a three or four-piece rock, pop, country or jazz band could want, including a full line of electric and acoustic guitars, drums, amplifiers, keyboards, public address and lighting systems (which Northland also rents), as well as minor repair work to instruments.

“Music is changing all the time (because of technology), especially with the advent of home recording.  We also sell home recording equipment.  With some of the merchandise we sell, you can turn out CD-quality music,” Mizzi said.

Northland does not offer music lessons, but refers customers to businesses who do. 

Mizzi runs the store with the help of store manager Bob Croteau (a guitarist and bassist).

“Between the two of us we have a lot of experience, and we work very well together.  We can do the work of four people, even during Christmas rush. He sold me my first set of drums when he worked for Arnill’s back in 1974,” Mizzi said.

“The music business, for me, is all about art and creativity.”

“A lot of it is about getting kids involved in music, we deal with a lot of families. Music is something that helps you grow as a person, it’s great for your self esteem and it just gets the creative juices in the brain flowing, and pretty soon you want to start jamming and playing with your friends and you want to start writing songs.”

“It’s good for the soul.”

Northland Music, which may be reached by phone at (705) 254-1756, is open for business from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays (open until 9 p.m. for Christmas shopping during the month of December).