Jukebox king dies as business grows

Paddy Murphy with one of his Wurlitzer juke boxes at Jukeboxes Direct's Banner Cross HQ
Paddy Murphy with one of his Wurlitzer juke boxes at Jukeboxes Direct's Banner Cross HQ
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Sheffield entrepreneur Paddy Murphy has died at the age of 74, just as his Jukeboxes Direct business was experiencing a new surge of success.

Mr Murphy ran a series of businesses in the city, culminating in Banner Cross-based Jukeboxes Direct, which only last week reported that sales were up by 11 per cent and exports had risen too, with new and restored jukeboxes being dispatched to Australia, Malta and Hong Kong.

Paddy Murphy spent his 30s and early 40s in double glazing, but switched to entertainment in the 1980s, running a company selling balloons and kites – which he exported to the US.

The strengthening pound killed that market but Paddy’s American connections suggested he could boost his balloon business by adding value. It was Paddy Murphy’s boast that his firm brought balloon decoration to Britain, doing everything from wholesaling balloons to printing them.

The balloon business supplied the London Marathon and once launched 1.57 million balloons at Longleat.

After selling his share in the balloon business, Paddy Murphy launched Party Town in Ecclesall Road, supplying fancy dress, wigs, party items, balloons – and the helium to go in them.

Jukeboxes Direct started out in Birmingham 29 years ago and moved to Sheffield after Paddy and his older brother, Michael, bought the business. The company took off, with four out of every five sales being made over the internet. Jukeboxes Direct’s www.wurlitzer.co.uk web address, along with its status as official dealer for Wurlitzer, gave the businesss an added advantage.

Days before his death, Paddy Murphy was predicting more international orders and was planning to step up Jukeboxes Direct’s marketing efforts.

His funeral will take place at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium at 11am tomorrow.