According to my workmates, packing in my safe secure job as an aircraft engineer to embark on a long-held desire to own and run a record shop was sheer folly, and to be honest there are some days when I think they might have been be right. But, all I do when those doubts surface is select something uplifting from my pre-owned stock and get it on the turntable (LOUD). I then think to myself, there are worst ways to spend your day.
I have been in the aviation industry for almost 40 years and have known nothing else my whole working life, but music has always been there linked with everything I do. Over time I have played with many bands from punk to a 9-piece jazz band. I developed my love of music early, back in the day when music education was available to all, and with the help of some excellent tutors I learned a brass instrument from the age of 12, classical guitar and bass which I taught myself, and I still play over 40 years later. I would encourage everyone to learn an instrument, as the opportunities it presents that you would otherwise never have are tremendous. I have played in various embassies around the world to a Wales v England football match at Swansea, this sticks in my mind as it was possibly the coldest gig I have ever played
Where does “KCC” come from?
The name of the shop KCCVinyl comes from the very beginning of my desire to buy and sell vinyl, I still get quite a buzz when I realise I am holding a first UK pressing of a well-known album, not in a financial way , although that is how I now make my living, but I could be holding a 40 year old album and I like to think of the history of it and how I came to own it, I have had some strange albums turning up from all over the world, Sex Pistols from Portugal to name one.
But back to the shop name, while still working, and as a way of sticking my toe in the water, my brother who was running a shop named “Kingdom Comics and Collectibles” (KCC) had a small corner of his shop which needed filling. Long story short, I took up that small corner and started with around 300 albums, and a job lot of 3,000 singles which I picked up on e-bay. This way, I thought, I could have the best of both worlds, dabble in the vinyls, but continue with the security of a full-time job. For a while this was ok, my stock started to grow, as I was entering the trade from nothing I had no idea where to get new supplies from, but eventually I opened accounts with a few distributors and although not making a lot of money it was building nicely. The time came when my brother needed the space as his own business was growing, this was good for him, but a problem for me. I now had two choices either walk away, although I would have a nice vinyl collection to take with me, or I could take semi-retirement and continue with business.
Within 4 month I had to relocate to larger shop as I quickly outgrew the one I was in. I have been in this shop now for 6 months and I am beginning to have the repeat problem as my stock of new and pre-owned vinyl expands. I am still enjoying it and as I also sell online it is obvious that the resurgence in vinyl is a global phenomenon, I have sent early punk singles to Japan and Australia, as well as Ed Sheeran to Austria.
My own collection centres mostly around classical music, and I was a great fan of the 70’s prog rock scene amongst my favourite bands Genesis, Pink Floyd etc. When I first started in the shop I found it difficult to separate the collector in me with the retailer. I am not too bad now but I still come across some albums which do not make it out into the shop. You can’t completely remove the collector mentality. But I tell myself that the shop is effectively my own personal library until the items are sold.
At time of writing I am building up for the annual “Record Store Day” event and as this will be my first I am not really sure how it will go, but it is an interesting experience which I would not have had without taking the plunge and investing in a record shop, I also see that the supermarkets are beginning to expand into the vinyl market a sure sign that things are on the way up, although I am not really worried as most of my customers are more interested in more eclectic music and the ability to stop for a while and just chat about music in general and Vinyl in particular.