In rotation: 6/10/20

UK | Rough Trade are re-opening their UK record stores next week: All four of Rough Trade’s UK stores will resume in-person trading, although customer and staff safety measures will be implemented. Rough Trade have announced that they will be re-opening all four of their UK record stores next week. The record stores will re-open next Tuesday (June 16) at 11AM, ending the coronavirus-enforced closure of the business which began back in March when the UK lockdown was first ordered. Rough Trade have been operating solely online in the interim. The recent easing of the lockdown in England means that London’s Rough Trade East and Rough Trade West, as well as Rough Trade Bristol and Rough Trade Nottingham, will be able to open their doors to customers once again from next week. In a message to customers, Rough Trade said that they were “very pleased” to resume business across their four stores, and advised customers that safety measures will be implemented in line with the latest government guidance.

Kent, UK | Kent soft play centres, pubs, book shops and campsites on life after lockdown: Vinylstore Jr. The joy of shopping as a vinyl-lover is flicking through huge stacks of records and hunting for your favourite artists but fears of contamination from customer to customer poses a problem. But Nick Pygott, who owns the pint-sized Vinylstore Jr in Canterbury, has come up with a plan which he hopes will allow him to open safely from Friday, June 19. Since lockdown began, he has spent a lot of time delivering records to customers across the city, whilst keeping his online shop open for customers to purchase music. He said: “The shop actually lends itself quite well to social distancing – although it’s tiny, that helps facilitate a one-in, one-out policy. “There’s a buzzer on the door so I’ll be buzzing people in one at a time.” As a sole trader, Nick has not had to worry about training staff on the new measures and will be open for two days a week at the start to allow his customers back in to browse the vinyl on offer.

Miami, FL | Technique Records Reopens With Strict Social-Distancing: Technique Records owner Mikey Ramirez doesn’t mince words when he describes his shop’s efforts to adapt its business model in response to the pandemic. Ramirez says that ever since he was forced to close his recently expanded shop, it has been like “putting a Band-Aid on a disembowelment.” Soon after the March 17 closure, the Upper Eastside record store opened an online shop and began offering curbside pickup. By the following month, Technique was partnering with downtown’s Niu Kitchen for a curated vinyl-and-wine pairing program. Those measures have “kept us alive,” Ramirez says. But like most small businesses around the U.S., he admits the shop has racked up thousands of dollars in debt over the past three months, including some from the first round of federal loans. Adding to the impact was the postponement of April’s Record Store Day, which is comparable to Black Friday for record shops and last year accounted for nearly 25% of total U.S. vinyl album sales.

Oakland, CA | A Look at How Oakland’s Small Businesses Are Surviving: Econo Jam Records. Econo Jam, a record store in Uptown Oakland, has stayed busy despite the fact that customers can’t come inside to dig through records. Instead, the shop is using social media to showcase its eclectic inventory and stay connected with its diverse customer base. “It’s fun finding those gold nuggets and having folks jump at the chance to snatch them up,” says owner Tom O’Shaughnessy. “People stuck at home are finding comfort in listening to records, as well as filling in the gaps in their collections by shopping online.” Now that curbside pickup is allowed, every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m., customers swing by to grab records they picked out from Econo Jam’s Instagram and Discogs page, an online marketplace to buy and sell records, tapes, and CDs. O’Shaughnessy says he misses the camaraderie that working in a record store fosters. “We are just a bunch of music nerds who love sharing our favorite music with folks,” he says. “The hardest part of sheltering in place is missing all of our music-loving people.”

Dublin, IE | Delight as Irish book, record & charity shops re-open: This is a big day for Ireland as high streets take on a slightly more familiar look – we were up at eight to bag ourselves some tomato plants – and we all grapple with the possibilities presented by being able to travel up to 20k. Hopefully the easing of Lockdown restrictions, whilst still being mindful of the dangers that remain, will bring you closer to some of the people in your lives. Along with those tomato plants, our getting out of bed was made easier by the news that Enable Ireland and other charity shops are starting to re-open. Tower Records is doing its do again on Dawson Street. New public toilets that allow for social distancing are being installed in Dublin city centre. Some of the legendary buzz has returned to Georges Street Arcade. The awesome Charlie Byrne’s in Galway is back tending to its literary flock, as are O’Mahoney’s in Limerick and the Gutter Bookshop in Dublin. Golfers are teeing-off at Mount Juliet. And that really is just for starters…

Philadelphia, PA | It’s not Record Store Day but it’s close: Record stores the Philly region tackle reopening in the age of the city’s code yellow. Of all things whose tops will pop in a Philadelphia marked “Code Yellow,” is record store shopping, an indoor sport where careful, but rapid crate digging and flailing of fingertips against stacks of vinyl LP covers is not to be taken lightly. Of course, all of this can – and has – been done online, before, during and after COVID-19. Several local store owners report surprisingly (at least to them) solid upticks in web purchasing from their shops, and expect things will stay that way – even now that customers can enter brick-and-mortar vinyl stops, albeit with rules of safe social distancing (no more breathing down another shopper’s neck while they shuffle through the rack you really want to be in) and proper floor markings, masks, sanitized hands and sneeze guards installed at counters as part of the live shopping experience.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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