The Jukebox Co.
have Rock-Ola, Wurlitzer, AMI Jukeboxes and Other
Jukeboxes for sale.
talks to Terry at The Jukebox Co.
love of Jukeboxes started with rock 'n' roll in the fifties
and with his dad's passion for, and involvement with, these
beautiful machines. A passion that was passed on to Terry...
Terry: Hello David. I had to strip a jukebox out to be chromed
and painted rather urgently and my guy’s champing at the bit
to get it done, so thanks for rescheduling,
Digger: That’s fine Terry. I’ve got visions of you now sitting
big desk in a big room in your jukebox empire!
Terry: No, just a small ten by ten room in my house.
Digger: I’ve always wanted a big room with portraits on the
wall that had flashing eyes when you called them. Like they used to on Thunderbirds
for the five Tracy Brothers. You know, where they turned into
video images of the person? If ever I make my money I’m
going to have that!
Terry: Well, you can do that now with the iPhones. If you have
a certain App on that then I can see you, you can see me.
Digger: True. It’s funny that we’re dealing in old technology
but also using the latest technology.
Terry: Oh yes, I’m a great lover of all the new gadgets that
come out, but when it comes down to the music side then the fifties is my era.
Digger: What is your background, can you please tell us how
The Jukebox Co started and how the company has evolved into
what it is today?
Terry: I was born in 1943 and at the back end of the
fifties my dad worked for a company called Bal-Ami in Ilford
who manufactured jukeboxes under license to America. So during
the school holidays I used to be out and about with my dad
delivering machines and doing whatever we had to do.
Digger: Around London and Essex?
Terry: Crikey no, the whole of the UK.
You’re talking about delivering eight or nine
jukeboxes every time and it would be Birmingham, Manchester,
Digger: Back when the roads weren’t that great Terry?
Terry: Yes, it would take six hours to get to Manchester. But
that’s where the passion started and then I left school and
started trying to sell TVs, which was no good to me. Then
I got my driving license and away I went. I was in the jukebox
business, working for a company down in Bath. I worked from
their London office and then they closed it down after nine
months so I was unemployed for a matter of about a day.
(Digger laughs) I went straight along to see one of our
suppliers and by that time I’d picked up some knowledge and
went out on the road as an engineer.
Digger: That was in the days when people did apprenticeships.
Terry: Yes, I learned the hard way though.
Digger: I feel so sorry for the youngster now. It doesn’t matter
how qualified they are, the chances are they’re not going to
be able to get anything interesting to do.
Terry: No, definitely not. They spend all this time at school and
then university and come out getting all the degrees under the
sun and end up in jobs that they don’t like doing and that
have got nothing to do with their qualifications.
Digger: You sell, hire and repair Jukeboxes. Are these (and
the parts) getting more difficult to source?
Terry: The parts are not difficult to source, but trying to obtain
any 1957/58 jukebox that is in half reasonable condition is
getting harder and harder. Once upon a time it was very easy -
you’d get a call from the pickers in The States who’d say
they’ve got this and got that and it would fill a container
quite easily. But now you’re ringing them - “I need a 1957
AMI H, what’s the chances? “Well, I’ve got this one.”
“No, that’s no good.” And the only time we do find any
of quality coming on the market is when somebody passes away.
And if the estate is crafty enough to put them on auction then
that’s when it goes too high to buy it. I think we’ve
still got four or five years left amongst us oldies to keep
going and (does some maths out loud) 72, 73, 74 – if I can
keep going just a little while longer I’ll be alright.
Digger: Apart from the sales, the maintenance must be keeping
you very busy Terry?
Terry: That will be ongoing whether or not we stop selling
Digger: Are you making parts as well as sourcing the
Terry: I’ve got a little engineering firm in Romford that does
the odd one or two parts for me, which is just brilliant
because most engineering companies say “We can do 100 or
1,000.” That’s small mechanical parts. But we’ve also got a
very good couple in Germany, who are probably in their early
forties, and they are reproducing parts like nobody’s
business. It’s what is totally keeping us going. They make
the machine look presentable with buttons and glasses and
plastics and things like that, making our job a lot easier.
Because we can then do it to the best of our ability and the
customer sees something that they’re quite happy to pay the
going figure for. And to put it into their property and it will all
look nice in their lounge or kitchen or wherever. If you didn’t
have these people doing the repro parts, you’d feel reluctant
to sell it at quite a high price to go into somebody’s
Digger: There’s nothing wrong with introducing new parts
into old machines, of course. When the old Routemaster buses
were going around in numbers in London, they reckoned that there was
nothing original on them. Everything was replaced after
a certain amount of time or miles, from engine parts to the
seat covers. It’s the same sort of thing really.
Terry: Yes. Well, I suppose with our sort of product you’ve
got to expect that a jukebox might be sitting in a garage or a
barn or in storage somewhere. Up until about ten or fifteen
years ago, yes, that would be the case.
The first thing that would go is the chrome.
That’s it. And that’s what we’re finding now, David,
is that the chrome is getting so bad that chromers are not
being able to fulfil their side of it and bring it up as it
should be. Because it’s a die-cast and not a metal of the
best quality and it gets harder and harder to get all the pits
and marks out and clean and polished for re-chroming.
Digger: Why is vintage, retro and nostalgia so popular in so
many people's lives and why are Jukeboxes so evocative of
Terry: What we’ve found over the last ten or fifteen years or so
is that a guy will walk in and this is the normal
conversation. “I’ve got loads of 45s sitting up in my
attic and I’ve got nothing to play them on, so I
thought about a jukebox for playing them on.” That is the
most common remark that they make when they come in to look at
And have they got a real idea as to the cost of these?
A lot of people don’t - a lot of people come in and
say “Oh, I didn’t realise they were that price.”
They might have been fooled by going into Debenhams and
seeing one of those modern repro digital ones?
Yes, or the other side of it is they say “Well, they’re
40, 50, 60 years old, they can’t be worth a lot of money.”
(Digger laughs) But nine times out of ten, David, they
appreciate what we say – that they are what they are. 50 or
so years old and that we’ve put a lot of work and time into
it, they look and sound great. Then they can appreciate what
the value is in the jukebox. You get the odd one or two
guys that will come in and they reckon that we’re taking the
Mickey (and that’s me being polite!) They come in and start
shouting and hollering and I say “Well, I’m very sorry Sir,
but there’s a door there. If you’re not happy with prices
we’ve got then you’re quite welcome to leave.” But
people are beginning to realise that these things are very
collectable and we use the term Big Boy’s Toys now. That’s how
we’re getting now, guys who are fifty plus and they can
relate to the jukebox being in a coffee bar, being in a café
or pub or wherever they were at the time. And they think it would be nice
to have one indoors with all their favourite records.
Digger: What advice would you give to somebody planning to buy
Terry: It depends. I try tactfully to find out what their
budget is and if the budget is small I say “Fine, I can
appreciate it’s not very high on the priority list and you
may desire to have something that’s very visual. But why
don’t you start with something that’s from the
mid-seventies or the late seventies. A jukebox where you
don’t see the workings but at least it’s a jukebox that
gets you off the ground?” And quite often that does work and
then hopefully in a year or two they come back and say
“I’ve got some more money, is there any chance of
part-exchanging and upgrading this one. I want to buy another
Terry: And the answer is usually yes I imagine?
Yes. Of course. We try and think we look after our
customers and in fact they’re not customers, they usually become
The majority of these people do become good friends and we
create a good rapport with them.
Digger: Where are your customers coming from?
Terry: A lot of people are coming from The Internet and technology
is the main thing. They’ll find us by tapping anything
related around jukeboxes. And then they’ll find somebody
who’s near enough to their doorstep and they’ll come along
to the shop and have a look.
Digger: That’s important, isn’t it? They’re doing
their research on The Internet but they actually need to come
in to see, hear, touch and smell the jukeboxes?
That’s right. I have had the odd one or two that have
bought over The Internet without seeing, but they are guys who
know what they want. I’ve got one, a friend now, in Nelson
Lancashire and he’s had three off of me. He’s not prepared
to drive all the way down to London and we’ve managed to
supply him with what he wants and he’s happy with it. Now
we’re on Christmas and Birthday card terms and he’ll ring
me just for a chat. As I say, they become friends.
That is good, isn’t it? And unusual in this day and age
Yes, this is what I like about the business. There’s no
stress involved and you do make good friends with these people
and you can sit on the phone for hours talking to them about
jukebox-related things and get off the phone and feel quite
comfortable with the conversation that’s gone on.
That was one of my questions Terry. What are the best and
most enjoyable aspects of running The Jukebox Co? Building
relationships with these people and satisfying them with a
great jukebox as well, I suppose?
I tend to look at it as having three levels of
gratification or pleasure. One is finding an old jukebox which
is rubbish, for want of a better word. It’s a bit past its
sell-by date and you look at it and think “I can do
something with that.” So you get a great deal of pleasure
out of buying something like that. The second one is the
finished article and you think “Crikey, doesn’t that look
good?” And you’ve got pictures of when it was a
basket case and now when it’s a beautiful fully-working
piece of equipment. And then the last bit of pleasure is when
somebody comes into the showroom and they say “Oh, I’ve
got to have that! That’s it! That’s the one I want!
That’s my jukebox!” And the look on the guy’s face –
it’s like you’ve given a kid a bag of sweets.
Digger: Is it mostly guys?
No’ I’ve had a few ladies coming in and buying.
Single ladies that want something to play their records on but
it is predominantly the guys.
And predominantly people of a certain age, I suppose?
Yes. We do sell to the thirties plus but that's a
different ballgame and it’s usually CD.
The Wurlizters and the AMIs from the fifties and sixties
would be irrelevant to them. They grew up with the CD.
Yes, they look at the 45s and think “What the hell is
that?” Especially when the children come in and they say
“That’s a big CD isn’t it?”
Digger: What else do you do apart from jukes?
We can supply pinballs and pool tables although our main
focus these days is the jukeboxes.
Digger: What are your plans for The Jukebox Co in the future?
You talked about keeping going until retirement and I’m
sure a lot depends on how this market goes, but what would be
We downsized the shop in November and
came from a main road position into a really comfortable little
showroom-cum-workshop five minutes away from where I
live now in Ongar, Essex.
Yes. Just off the 414. It suits me down to the ground,
it’s much more compact and about a third of the size but
still gives me a showroom with about seven or eight jukeboxes
in which is fine.
So you’ve got somewhere where people can physically come
to but you’ve got the web presence as well.
We’re tucked a little bit behind the high street, but
we’ve found the last couple of months has been very good and
people are beginning to find us and to come down. And I’m now
in that contented state where if I wanted to go down there….
like on Monday night. I said to the wife “I’m just going to
nip down to the shop for an hour.” Which was about 6:30, and
I stayed there for an hour and a half and I achieved a lot
more than I would during the day. That’s the great side of it,
I’m fidning it less stressful, more pleasurable and I can
do what I want to do when I want to do it at my pace.
Working smarter not harder?
That’s it. Monday I came home about 4 o’clock and went
with the wife to get some bits for the house but I went
back after dinner at my own piece and it my own time.
The Internet has opened up things so that you can do that.
Plus the fact that I’m no longer under the pressure to
find x number of pounds to pay the overheads on the other
place. This is much more within my budget and something that I
can handle. If I don’t go down there for four or five days it
doesn’t make that much difference.
Also, the thing is if you’re buying these jukes that most
people would put on the scrapheap and spending time and energy
and expertise into restoring them then you can charge a good
There is also more pleasure now from being in the workshop and going back to what I used to do ten or fifteen
years ago - restoring the jukeboxes myself. I'd got to the stage
where I had colleagues like Derek, who became a good friend
after buying a jukebox and retired and since helped me with
deliveries and now with restorations. When we had
the shop in Ilford, Micky was my mainstay after selling him
some parts and also Bill who did a couple of days per week
with me. I sold him his first jukebox 28 years ago. But now I
am also more hands-on again, which is what I get enjoyment
It's been very interesting and informational Terry and I look
forward to seeing you at The Juke Box Jive Show.
Thanks David. You too.
We have many jukeboxes for sale - Rock-Ola jukeboxes,
AMI jukeboxes and Wurlitzer juke boxes. We are one of
the largest restorers of jukeboxes in the uk selling and
restoring both CD jukeboxes and Vinyl jukeboxes which
can be delivered to you.
In addition to jukeboxes we also sell Americana, Pool
Tables and have jukeboxes for hire.
Based in Essex in the South East of the UK all our
jukeboxes are hand picked for originality and condition.
We have over 40 years experience in the sale and
restoration of jukeboxes which lets us supply the right
jukebox for you.
Being an avid collector and an enthusiast myself I
understand the importance of buying the right machine
and I pride myself in the quality of the jukeboxes I
sell. All the jukeboxes are hand picked for originality
The restoration service is second to none, as these
machines are professionally brought back to their
original condition. All the chroming is triple plated
the American way, mechanisms are fully dismantled and
rebuilt, amplifiers are rebuilt by specialists using all
new components and the jukeboxes are reassembled using
the utmost care.
Contact the Jukebox Co at
Showroom: +44 (0)1277 363002
Tel: +44 (0)7802 343766