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Record store and cultural hub Cheeky Monkey up for sale

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Troy Shantz

Cheeky Monkey is for sale.

The building that houses Sarnia’s iconic CD and record shop is on the market, and once it sells business owners Roland and Mary Anne Peloza will be looking for someone to take over the retail operation.

“We’re getting to an age where we don’t like working six days a week. In our mid-60s, it’s time to move on to the next phase,” said Roland Peloza.

The building at 130 North Christina St. N. is listed with Cushman & Wakefield agent Kenn Poore for $699,000. It’s been Cheeky Monkey’s home the past 20 years.

Peloza said ideally the purchaser of the building would also take over the business, but he and his wife would continue to run it in the short term if that’s not the case.

“If it sells next week, we’re fine. If it doesn’t sell for two years, we’re fine. Right now it’s business as usual,” he said.

Originally a video rental shop, the couple opened Cheeky Monkey at a Wallaceburg storefront in 1982. Soon customers started asking for the movie soundtracks as well, Mary Anne Peloza recalled.

“It just kind of blew up from there.”

They arrived in Sarnia in the late 1990s, drawn by the cheap rent in a struggling downtown, said Roland Peloza. It gave them a front-row seat to Christina Street’s eventual recovery, he added.

“The downtown has improved tremendously and we like to think we were partly responsible for that… at least in a small way.”

Today Cheeky Monkey is an independent music and movie store, live show venue and ticket outlet for cultural events. And business has never been better, which makes the decision to sell bittersweet, the couple say.

“Now we’re at the point where we’re actually a tourist destination,” said Roland Peloza, pointing to a list of regular customers who travel to Sarnia from across Ontario, Michigan and Ohio.

“Guys off the ships, they usually send in one guy with a list,” Mary Anne Peloza added with a laugh.

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