Tiny Record Shop
Tiny Record Shop is tucked in the back of gift shop Token in on Queen East in Riverside . The shop isn't named like a 400-pound movie thug - it's actually tiny . At first glance it doesn't look like much, but after a quick flip through the bins it becomes clear this is no musty, warped vinyl rescued from grandma's basement.
Wall racks displaying new releases and a few choice finds compliment the clean, custom bins encircling the space. CDs are kept to one wall of new releases, keeping attention mainly on the vinyl. Ten, fifteen minutes and you can scan the majority of the stock, returning to focus on the "new" bins for your next visit. The content spans multiple genres, with the largest section devoted to "rock" both new and old.
Even though it's small, the right people can do a lot with a little. Partners in life and now business, Trevor Larocque, head of Toronto-based indie label Paper Bag Records , and Maude Fallon-Davesne, a physiotherapist, are the duo behind the shop. Both residents of the east end, the pair wanted a music-related business they could both be part of.
At a time when the music industry is trying to reestablish what exactly it's supposed to be, why a record store? As an extension of everything Trevor has experienced in the music business, Tiny Record Shop answers his question, "How can I show my love for music, publicly, and my connection to the neighbourhood?" Plus, new records shops don't happen in the east end of the city.
With the direct connection to Paper Bag Records , you can be sure it'll be a good spot to find the label's releases, but there's more to it than that. The stock started with a portion of Trevor's own vinyl collection, looking to share some of the great finds he didn't have room for anymore. There's also a foundation of hand-picked European imports, brought back in his carry-on from a recent trip to Paris, complementing other finds from travels around the US.
You can stop by with your own records in to sell, or even sometimes trade for the right albums. Borrowing an idea from well-known UK record shop Rough Trade , you'll also notice one record featured as the Album of the Month. Specially priced and promoted in the shop window, the focus will be on new releases from Canadian and/or local artists. As an added bonus, they'll now be selling tickets to select Toronto shows (the first being the Elliot Brood show in January) - something the east end hasn't seen in years.
Locals will remember the space as clothing retailer Common Sort , who have since taken over the hardware store next door, while still retaining the original space. After talks with Trevor and Maude, plus some inspiration from a similar setup in Portland, the space now known as Token is a gift shop (with the Tiny Record Shop in the back). With the two shops connected by a doorway, they're exploring the idea of in-store performances in the new Common Sort location.
The concept is simple and inviting, and summed up by Trevor: "Here's my collection, these are some really great records that I've come across over my years, and I want you to come in and be a part of that."
Writing and photos by Matt Forsythe