Bob Brown’s Hi-Fi founder farewelled

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 08, 2023 |

Image. Christchurch Memories Facebook page.

A stalwart of the audio community was farewelled in Christchurch today.

Robert Brown, known for his “iconic” store Bob Brown’s Hi-Fi, passed away peacefully at home, with family by his side on November 1, aged 86.

The funeral notice said, “Dearly loved husband of Kathy for 65 years, much loved Dad of Marie, Alex, Bobby, Katrina, Ian, and Andrew, and Poppa to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Bob Brown’s Hi-Fi was New Zealand’s oldest audio store, opening in 1971, and was sold in 2010 to new owners, Magnum Sound & Vision. The team say on their website: “The shop has been in Christchurch for more than 30 years. Formally well known as the iconic Bob Brown’s HiFi.”

Brown started selling audio equipment in the 1960s when the first amplifiers started coming into New Zealand. He built up his business to four hi-fi stores around Christchurch, dropping to one in 1990 following a family tragedy.

Great marketing helped build Brown’s iconic brand, and he is credited as the first-ever person to personally promote their business on FM radio, and the first Christchurch business to advertise on colour television.

In a post from 2020 on the Christchurch Memories Facebook page, members were asked whether they remember Brown’s store at 208 High Street.

One member said, “I bought my first serious stereo from Bob around 1997, it was a Denon with Kef speakers. I still have the speakers and they still sound amazing. Bob was really easy to deal with and a real character. I still remember he had framed pictures of himself posing with stereos on the walls.”

Another member said, “Brought my first video player off long term family friend Chock. I think I still have it! It was my first Hire Purchase. Was $2000. It could record only 1 programme at a time. That was what things cost those days. Think it was Phillips brand and it wired into mum and dads Phillips tv. The entire family were great fun and very well respected in the neighbourhood. The shop sold top quality gear that last a lifetime. Fond memories and respect to all the Brown family.”

Another commented, “I worked for Bob and his amazing family for years. One of the very few to be welcomed into a family business and with open arms too. I learned so much from him and I have some of the best memories while working there. Truly a one of a kind salesman with an original approach to selling and always enjoyed a good whiskey. Cheers Bob.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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