Specialist record store bucks the trend as it moves to larger shop
RECORD shops have been struggling to survive as the download culture continues to dominate the way we buy music.
And yet Nottingham's Music Exchange has just moved to larger premises in Hockley.
The specialist vinyl record shop in Stoney Street has also expanded its range to include homeware and gifts.
"It's been good timing," explains manager Joey Bell, a former employee of Selectadisc.
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"Vinyl sales have been rising steadily over the past couple of years and there is a lot of demand for it. It's quite a cool thing to be buying."
The shop was originally based in the West End Arcade.
"We've had to move to a larger shop as more and more records are being released and we have run out of room for them."
The Music Exchange was first set up three years ago as a second-hand record shop, as part of the homeless charity Framework.
Says Joey: "Our stock was all from public donations but it became apparent that Nottingham wanted new vinyl."
He adds: "We have such a broad demographic of customers and it's really nice see the shop full of young kids discovering vinyl for the first time."
The shop also sells vinyl records by local artists, plus a range of gifts that include cushions, mugs and coasters designed by Ella Doran, all featuring record players and stacks of vinyl.
Says Joey: "I think that Nottingham has such an amazing music scene and it's great to be able to sell records from local bands."
It is staffed by volunteers and any profit goes back to Framework.
"We put on gigs in the city and in the shop," says Joey.
The shop launched with an in-store gig by Kogumaza and on Wednesday, December 19, Bitter Strings will play the Music Exchange Christmas Party at Nottingham Contemporary.
"Our sales continue to increase with every month and that was one of the main reasons for the expansion.
"We hope that the move will bring in a whole new customer base. We were a bit tucked away in the arcade but now we are on the main thoroughfare of what is an exciting and creative area at the moment."
He says that the shop goes some way to fill the hole left by the closure of Selectadisc in 2009, after more than 40 years in business.
"It's important for a city to have an independent record shop, as places such as Selectadisc played such a big part of people's lives.
"I'm sure many people can remember the first record they bought from Selectadisc, and it's those kind of feelings you can't attach to an MP3."
The Music Exchange is open 10am to 5.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
The annual Christmas Party at Nottingham Contemporary will feature Bitter Strings and DJ sets from Anders (Hello Thor), Paul K (LeftLion) and Sue Starbuck. It starts at 7.30pm and admission is free.
For more about the shop go to themusicexchange.org.uk.