David Sabourin’s constitution is such that you wonder if he was a Buddhist monk in a former life.
The shop housing his West Broadway business Tapestry Music has been sold and hundreds of his students, along with dozens of teachers, are searching for new digs and new gigs.
As this plays out, Sabourin is downsizing, changing the business model and finding a new location within a two-month window.
Oh, and he’s in the process of moving store locations in Victoria as well.
“I could go home and develop an ulcer if I wanted to, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” Sabourin told the Courier. “This is Vancouver real estate. These things happen.”
Located near the corner of Broadway and Alma Street, Sabourin established the Vancouver Tapestry Music outlet three years ago after buying the business from previous owner and fellow music educator Jerry Prussin, who retired.
Shortly after taking on the new business, Vancouver School District discontinued band and stringed instrument programs in elementary schools.
“That was a bit of a kick in the head for us,” Sabourin said.
As such, Tapestry went all in on lessons. Nineteen teaching spaces were opened up over the 9,000 square feet of space Sabourin had to work with.
Lessons are going the way of the dodo come March 16. Tapestry will then relocate to the 4400 block of West 10th Avenue in April. What was once 9,000 square feet becomes 2,000 square feet. The business model’s main bread winner will no longer continue, as Sabourin pivots towards sales, rentals and repairs only.
“Those 19 teaching studios were paying the rent,” said Sabourin, who’s also a professional tuba player with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.
Tapestry’s main hub in White Rock has been in operation since 1996. Expansion into Victoria happened less than two years ago in a part of town with no free parking and limited storefront space. Sabourin and his son found a new location recently and plan to move in effective April 1.
As for his home turf in White Rock, the new council in town has clamped down on development. Tower projects over a certain height have been put on hold.
That decision has an obvious ripple effect on Sabourin, given that new residents means new money.
“When you consider that a lot of White Rock’s revenue comes from pay parking along the beach, you start to think ‘This isn’t making a lot of sense,” Sabourin said. “But I’ve learned to be quiet in my business.”
In the midst of all this chaos, Sabourin has found three private teaching schools on the West Side that will take some of his students and teachers. He’s working on making sure the lesson costs stay the same as what he currently charges.
And despite the numerous balls Sabourin’s juggling, he maintains an in-it-to-win-it attitude. At 62, Sabourin’s grooming the business for his son to one day take over. And he wants to continue providing an outlet for young kids so they can fall in love with music from an early age.
“There are kids who aren’t going to be on the sports team, there are kids who don’t have the economic ability to go do activities,” Sabourin said. “If you don’t have that option in the school system, whether it’s ukulele, strings or band, I look at that as almost a child-at-risk issue.”
Info on where teachers and students are going, along with details around Sabourin’s new location, can be found online at tapestrymusic.com.
- This story has been updated since first published