Just three years on from its launch, Slide Record Shop in Bedford has had to cope with the Covid lockdown and delayed Record Store Day.
ERA has changed things up this year with three separate editions of Record Store Day – August 29, September 26 and October 24.
Ahead of the first RSD vinyl ‘drop’ on Saturday, Nerys Bannister of Slide Record Shop opens up about a different kind of vinyl celebration…
How has business been since reopening, how have customers reacted to changes?
“Our customers have been amazing. Everyone has been masking up, sanitising their hands and respecting the number of people we can have in the shop at any one time. We’ve also seen more online ‘click-and-collect’ purchases and pre-orders. While we didn’t know what to expect on re-opening, it has certainly exceeded our expectations. However, things are going to be tough in retail for the foreseeable so we are staying cautious.”
What have been key titles for you?
“One of the joys of the Slide Record Shop community, is just how diverse our customers’ tastes are and the variety of titles people get excited about. The big releases from Madness, Terry Hall, The Cure and Bowie are hugely popular but there is enthusiasm about releases as diverse as FSOL – Papua New Guinea (Andrew Weatherall Mix), Sarathy Korwar – Otherland, Minnie Riperton - Les Fleur (fun fact: this was the track I walked up the aisle to when Warren [Alsop, co-owner] and I got married), The Lovely Eggs – I Am A Moron and The The - I Want 2 B U. And the Art Brut – Modern Art project is just a brilliant thing to be a part of with students from Bedford College contributing artwork.”
How is the first RSD ‘drop’ looking?
“We are running an appointment system for the August drop and slots are filling up. There was never going to be a perfect way to hold Record Store Day in Covid-secure conditions, but hopefully with the drops we can get records into the hands of eager record lovers as safely as possible. With so many shops taking part, it’s great we have been given the flexibility to figure out a plan that works for us while staying true to the spirit of the event.”
This is only our third RSD, but we have learnt that the only thing to expect is the unexpected
What are your hopes in terms of the sales impact? Did the Love Record Stores event give some guidance in terms of what to expect?
“Love Record Stores was a wonderful boost to our business and helped build our online side as we re-opened. This is only our third RSD, but we have learnt that the only thing to expect is the unexpected. Based on the success of Love Record Stores and the communication with customers around RSD drops, there is still a lot of demand for these limited releases and people are keen to support their local record shop.”
How have you moved online during the pandemic?
“As a small local record shop, pre-Covid-19 our website was about letting people know what we had in stock before they came in to see us. We have seen an increase in online sales, both from our regular customers as well as people further afield. The proportion of our online sales has grown but our business remains predominantly a face-to-face one, even if it is now behind screens and masks.”
Are there any events going ahead this weekend?
“We’re a small family business and it will be just us in the shop this year, so the records are the event. It is a pity we can’t connect as we did last year, when we had DJs, live performances and an after-party at our local craft beer shop. We’ll be communicating on the day via social media and we’re looking forward to people sharing their RSD purchases with us.”
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