Sunrise records toronto

What Toronto record shops think about Sunrise and HMV

Toronto was definitely sad when HMV announced its Canada-wide closure, especially when that meant it was shutting its giant Yonge Street store. 

But there's a silver lining to all this as Sunrise Records suddenly announced it'd be moving in to the 70 soon-to-be vacant HMV mall locations across the country (it couldn't come to a lease agreement with the Yonge street store) with a heavy concentration on vinyl.

There are currently 10 locations in malls in the GTA.

It seems like a super risky move for the music and toy store, but local vinyl retailers see the fact that it'll be pushing records and creating jobs as a good thing.

"At the end of the day, we’re all in the same industry so there has to be some teamwork to some degree, and we don’t like to see people losing jobs," says Andrew Koppel of Kops Records

Like many, Koppel was surprised by Sunrise's move into what seemed to be a dying business. "I didn’t foresee this because I thought the provincial corporatization of vinyl had kind of gone out the window with the collapse of CDs," he says.

"One thing that makes us and other vinyl stores [stand out] in the city is we’re able to cater towards a clientele, whereas when you have 70 stores and they have to follow the same formula... It’s tricky when people in Oshawa want to buy completely different stuff than people in Toronto."

April Walsh at Sonic Boom cautiously echoes the sentiment. "I think it’s a really good thing for the industry in general, we want record stores to all succeed and do well because it means a greater demand for vinyl, which we fully support," she says.

Every shop I spoke to wished them well, and Ian Cheung, co-owner of June Records is even excited.

"I think it’s awesome," he says. "The more people that can be introduced or get into it or buy their first starter record player from them, that’s great. Because of the sheer size of their distribution network, it’s good exposure to get people into records."

Cheung says the small stores can only benefit from Sunrise because they can introduce a younger audience to the world of records. 

That's the main reason most local stores have a more-the-merrier attitude with this announcement. Each store is so unique and isn't limited by what's popular.

"I can’t afford to have all these chain stores to get people introduced to vinyl for the first time,"Cheung says, "but I can afford to have one specialized store that has an amazing crew where we pour our heart and soul into curation and buying of new and used records.

"Independent record stores will always set themselves apart by sheer virtue of passion."

Lead photo by

PLTam


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