Wolverhampton vinyl store spinning up for Record Store Day

The owner of Vinyl & Vintage in Wolverhampton is hoping that collectors will be turning out for Record Store Day on Saturday for pressings they might otherwise have difficulty buying.

Self-confessed vinyl fanatic Claire Howell of Vinyl & Vintage
Self-confessed vinyl fanatic Claire Howell of Vinyl & Vintage

Claire Howell, aged 52, has been trading in the city for 12 years and in her current location for eight years, selling records, vintage T-shirts, posters, badges and tour programmes and other items connected with the music industry.

With a big swing back to a demand for vinyl records, independent stores have become an important feature for collectors across the country.

Record Store Day started in America and with its spread to England has helped promote the sales of vinyl and seen the release of a variety of exclusive albums.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions introduced by the Government many independent stores faced being closed for 32 weeks out of 52 last year.

Now with restrictions easing, Claire hopes that Record Store Day will once again see collectors turning out to buy exclusive releases from record companies which only independent shops who take part in the special event can offer.

The list of albums available is enormous but shops might have only a limited stock by any artist or band.

Claire said: "Demand for vinyl is definitely growing but Record Store Day is for our customers and not for us and is aimed at getting people into buying vinyl and into independent stores.

"Because of problems with Covid last year we opened at 8am but had to close in 20 minutes as the queues we had seen in previous years were just not there because of restrictions.

"Previously we would have expected as many as 60 to 100 people to be outside.

Discoveries

"That is why this year the event is being held over more than one day and split between Saturday and July 17.

"People will be able to discover what we have for sale on the website and these will all be offered at a fair price.

"We expect big demand for Prince's album The Truth, which is on vinyl for the first time, and although we ordered 12 copies we only received one.

"Everything will be on a first-come and first-served basis and everything will be Covid secure, with only 12 to 15 people at a time and safely distanced.

"There are screens at the counter and hand sanitizers.

"I am hoping that there will be a demand from customers this year as I do believe there is a big swing back to vinyl because people like the physical format rather than just a download.

"Records are tactile and give people the opportunity to get away from just downloading music and listening to only one track and not necessarily the whole album.

"As a High Street shop we spent 32 out of 52 weeks being closed and still faced the expenses of running a shop without being able to trade.

"It is important that people get out of the habit of buying online as there are shops out there in the city who are struggling.

Second-hand vinyl

"It is vital to get people back into the city otherwise we will lose more shops.

"There has been an upsurge in demand for second-hand vinyl which is affordable with records from the 80s selling for between £3 and £6 for an album.

"People do not have to spend a lot and nowadays there are certainly a lot of young people taking an interest in vinyl.

"The majority of collectors are from 35 to 55-years-old and I would say that about 80 per cent are men.

"I think it falls into the same bracket as coin and stamp-collecting and seems to attract more men than women.

"Although a lot of women like music, they do not seem to become collectors.

"I am a vinyl junkie, otherwise I wouldn't have a shop selling records.

"The doors will open at 8am on Saturday and basically we will be only one among independent record shops across the country who buy regularly from record companies and who will be able to offer exclusive releases on the day.

"These will include releases from the likes of The Thrills, Supergrass, Tears For Fears, Madness, Motorhead, Linkin Park, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Elton John and many more from various genres."

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