In rotation: 6/29/20

Redditch, UK | Vinyl records cleaned top to bottom ahead of Vintage Trax’s grand reopening: Vinyl records were cleaned top to bottom in preparation for the reopening of record store Vintage Trax. The independent store on Birchfield Road opened on June 16 for the first time since lockdown began. It has done everything in its power, including only serving one customer at a time, to make music lovers feel comfortable in their search for retro tunes. Vintage Trax owner Ros Sidaway said she was nervous to reopen but that everything has gone ‘smoothly’. “I tried online trading for a while which was okay but I soon realised it’s not what I do this for,” she said. “I’m passionate about music and I like interaction with my customers and the chats that we have. “It’s also great for them to be able to come in and have a tactile dig through our crates. It always invokes happy memories for people.

Norwich, UK | Gloves, masks and mail order – how city’s record stores are coping with social distancing: From completely reshuffling a shop to sterilising items using UV lights, Norwich’s record stores have shaken up their businesses to reopen. Beatniks on Magdalen Street, in the city centre, opened its doors to customers on Monday, June 15, when nonessential shops were given the go ahead to reopen by the government. But with record stores usually a place for music lovers to casually browse, flipping through their impressive array of records, measures to maintain social distancing have been key. John Naylor, who owns the store, said the first few days had gone well and added: “The first week and up to Monday was very, very good, not that I’m thinking this is going to be an indicator of what we’ve got to come but I was very pleased, a lot of the usual people have been in.” Mr Naylor said he had introduced a number of changes to make social distancing possible in the store, including limiting the number of customers inside at any one time.

Leicester, UK | Leicester musician who played with Stevie Wonder opening record shop in Clarendon Park: Nick Murphy’s sons – both producers and DJs- are also involved in the new business. A Leicester musician who once played with Stevie Wonder is launching a record shop in Clarendon Park. Nick Murphy will open the shop, called Shakup Records, together with his two sons, who are also involved in the music industry. The new business will be based in Montague Road, and is described as “Leicester’s grooviest new vinyl store and music hub.” Nick has had a long career in music, which in 1984 included playing on a record, Feel It, with the legendary Stevie Wonder, when Nick was in the Leicester-based group Feelabeelia. He then fronted the band Ska-Boom and has played in bands ever since, before deciding to start this new chapter in his life. He has teamed up with his sons, Sonny and Finn, who are house music producers and DJs and go under the alias Murphy’s Law. They are full-time musicians and promoters, running an event in Leicester called Full House and performing all over Europe…. “We are a family that has grown up in the area, with all three of us being musicians, and this is what spurred us on to open this record shop.

Gainesville, GA | Moe’s Record Shop finds rhythm in new downtown Gainesville spot: As soon as one vinyl record store moved out of the square in Gainesville, another has stepped in to keep the music going. Moe Lyons, owner of Moe’s Record Shop, said he never considered packing up his downtown Flowery Branch business and moving it to Gainesville, until he received a message from Joey Summer, the co-owner of Imperial Records. “He asked if I’d be interested in renting this spot,” Lyons said. “He’s an attorney and was busy doing other things and could no longer run the shop. I knew the foot traffic would be great.” During the beginning of May, Lyons opened his shop along Bradford Street. He started by only accepting customers on weekends, but is now running an 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday operation. “It’s been awesome since I’ve been up here,” Lyons said. “It just exciting being in Gainesville… Business is going real well,” Lyons said. “I’m meeting new people that didn’t come to Flowery Branch and just talking music with people.”

Denton, TX | Mad World Records Joins a List of Indie Shops in Denton That Are Closing for Good: First, the bad news: “I find it hard to tell you, ’cause I find it hard to take,” but Mad World Records is no more. At least not as regulars know and love. The literal mom-and-pop record shop’s storefront is already closed to customers — for good. After nearly nine years, the store has been pushed into an early shuttering because of shutdowns triggered by COVID-19. And as coronavirus cases spike, a handful of Denton shops have announced their permanent closures or hasty transitions to online-only virtual shops. Owner, manager and lifelong record, tape and CD collector Mark Burke says he will announce he’s closing Mad World Record’s storefront today, Friday, on social media. To make matters worse, Burke can’t throw a final sale like record stores usually do because of safety concerns for him, his family, employees and the community. The good news: Burke spent “nearly every moment” of March and April cataloging most of his merchandise, new and used, to prepare for launching an online shop — something “100%” previously anathema to him before the outbreak of the virus.

Mystic, CT | Let the music play: Mystic Disc adjusts business model to survive during pandemic: In his 37 years as a record store owner, Dan Curland has seen a wide range of events that have impacted his business. The owner of Mystic Disc, a small specialty shop along Steamboat Wharf just west of the Mystic River, has made ends meet during challenging weather events such as Hurricane Sandy, survived a downtown streetscape project that he said restricted customer access to his store for months, and has ridden the highs and lows that have come from contemporary events such as the Sandy Hook school shooting, which impacted shopping habits throughout the region. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been different than any of those, but Curland said this week that the support of friends, employees and loyal customers — who provided income and spread word of his business even while his doors were closed — helped Mystic Disc survive. “For me, this is the third wave I’ve had to ride through in my career, and it was difficult because this time around it meant closing for two months without any idea what was going to come next,” he said. “I’ve been lucky, and thanks to some loyal customers and great friends, I’ll be just fine.”

Nottingham, UK | Popular record shop Vinyl Lounge will not reopen – and moves online only: ‘We felt it was too much of a risk.’ A Nottinghamshire vinyl shop has outlined its plans to move business online “for the summer” at least with concerns over a “second wave” of coronavirus among the reasons it has not reopened its store. Vinyl Lounge, in Mansfield, has decided to move solely online as its lease for the unit on Regent Street ran out at the end of April, and – “at the height of the pandemic” – the owner felt it was too much of a “risk” to sign another five-year lease at the time. That meant the store – which also featured a coffee lounge – did not reopen with other non-essential retailers on June 15, but its owner has stated that the lockdown has ‘not been such a hard time’ for the store financially – which already traded online. The business will reevaluate its situation in the autumn, but hopes to return to the “right unit.” …“I would not say it’s been such a hard time over the lockdown for us financially, but because of the circumstances it did not seem right to extend our five-year deal. We could not even extend for a few months at first.

Sacramento, CA | Record store solidarity: Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage was open for just a week at its new location before public health regulations forced it to close temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We had one great week and then we had to shut down,” said Laura Matranga, half of the store’s husband-and-wife team. They’ve since reopened, one of six stores that chose to open at roughly the same time, May 28-30, with uniform safety standards—a nod to the reality that record shoppers tend to hit every store in town. Delta Breeze, Kicksville, Medium Rare Records & Collectibles, Phono Select, Rocket Records and Waxidermy worked together to ensure that customers, employees and their families take as many precautions as possible to stay safe. For shop owners, this is their livelihood, and surviving the pandemic isn’t an option. While Medium Rare’s owner, Marty DeAnda, focused on coordinating a shared reopening day, Ben Johnson and his business partner Rick Daprato at Delta Breeze led the charge for consistent sanitary standards. For Johnson, whose wife is a nurse, it’s personal.

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