Southampton’s Vinilo Record Store is not only the city’s first independent record store to open in a long long time, but has also become a community hub. Somewhere to trust for go to releases and somewhere to meet like minded people or see stripped back sets from your favourite artists.
The road has been long for owners Ken and Virginia, but they’ve got to a point where their name is well known across the south and queues form around the block every Record Store Day. Like most independent businesses, the threat of Covid-19 is hitting the shop harder each day, and with RSD now rescheduled and many of their out-store shows postponed, it is proving a trickier time. We got in touch with our friends at the shop to see when it all started to take hold, what they’re doing now to survive and how we can support them in this difficult time. They also provide us with a playlist to help us get through this strange time.
As a shop, what had you anticipated the effect of COVID-19 to be and how did it and its reputation begin to show itself within your shop?
It did not have much impact until last week, despite being all over the news since January, when we noticed a sharp downfall in customers coming in store to purchase records.
What is the current trading situation at Vinilo?
We have now closed the store. We are offering free UK shipping on all orders and adding free gifts to all our orders. Its important for everybody to understand that this is a serious matter and we are all at risk. We are postponing all our album launch shows to the Summer / Autumn.
What is the current government advice to your venue and how has that impacted your business?
We have not been advised to close but we believe this is the best thing to do to keep our staff and customers safe. The impact has been hard especially not really knowing when we will be opening our doors again.
(Update: shops have now been asked to close since this interview took place)
What advice has been offered to you from the relevant government bodies regarding staying afloat at this time?
We are self employed so this is something that were going to have to wait and see what happens next but its looking a little brighter, but still confusing.
What is the worst case scenario for Vinilo?
To close our doors for a long period of time and lose the everyday routine of the store like speaking to customers, suggesting new records to them and supporting new music with all the artists and labels we with work with, this is just not just us, but the whole music industry as we know it!
How can people help Vinilo until normality is restored?
There are record tokens and new merchandise on our web store along with lots of records! Any purchases will be most welcome and much appreciated.
Just remember it is not going to be forever, so just believe in us and keep listening to music, we are going to be here regardless when this all finishes, in store, & online.
Remember it’s us, and stay in contact via our socials, say hello and talk to us!