How this Leeds record shop is paving the way for other independent retailers

Matthew is assistant manager at Jumbo Records and has worked in the music store for 18 years, overseeing numerous creative projects

Innovative Leeds record shop up for national award shows independent retailers can thrive in 2019

In the first half of 2019, nearly 3,000 shops shut on UK high streets.

Shopping habits are changing, smaller shops are having to deal with higher costs and locals are making fewer visits to our local high streets.

Despite this, there are some local independent retailers who continue to prove that smaller shops can thrive in uncertain times.

Jumbo Records, situated inside the Merrion Centre in Leeds, opened in 1971 and they are still operating on a highly successful level.

In fact, the popular music store has just been shortlisted for the award of ‘Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2019’, giving them recognition for their many years of hard work and dedication to their customers.

‘In the first half of 2019, nearly 3,000 shops shut on UK High Streets.

Jumbo Records has been open since 1971 and remains ever popular with local music fans

As well as boasting one of the most extensive record collections in the area, the reputable store plays host to live music and caters for film lovers with cinema events. The shops says its strong working relationships with local breweries, artists, designers and other shops help it to stay relevant.

“With a bit of creativity you can do some pretty extraordinary things”

Matthew Bradshaw, assistant manager and employee for 18 years, cites his store’s willingness to get creative as one of their main driving forces behind their success.

Matthew is assistant manager at Jumbo Records and has worked in the music store for 18 years, overseeing numerous creative projects

“With a bit of creativity you can do some pretty extraordinary things – we were one of the first music shops in the country to hook up with beers.

“You’ve got to make your shop a destination shop and do something a bit different, because if you don’t, how are people going to know you exist?”

Matthew continued by advising that fellow independent retailers should believe in their ability to succeed.

Jumbo Records, situated in the Merrion Centre, cite a sense of creative direction as a method for success

He said: “Often shops can put up their own barriers – you’ve got to be positive and think ‘what can we do’?

“You’ll often think ‘I couldn’t do that with a band’ or ‘I couldn’t get in touch with that label’, but you you’ll be surprised by what they’ll do and it doesn’t cost anything to approach someone.

“Be yourself and be creative.”

Additionally, Matthew says the evolution of online shopping has allowed Jumbo Records to excel in another aspect.

“How are people going to know you exist?”

“The power of the internet is pretty impressive.

“You’ve got a window to the world and as a shop you can put out there what you’re about.

“With the website, it’s much easier to sell tickets and records.”

Another independent retailer in Leeds that is thriving as a result of creativity and resourcefulness is Growlers – an edgy micro-pub and off-licence in Headingley that specialises in experimental craft beers.

The small bar offers a range of bizarre pints, with Neapolitan ice-cream and lemon sherbet flavored IPAs and often plays host to open mic nights, live jazz DJs and stand up comics.

After purchasing the venue earlier this year, owners decided that if their establishment was to stand out, it must offer something completely different.

“A large percentage of our customers are regulars and will come in three or four times a week.

“What makes us so popular in Headingley is that we offer a completely different experience to anything else you can find in the area.

“People come in regularly to find out what new and exciting beers we have and to soak in the atmosphere on our open mic nights.”

Both Jumbo Records and Growlers show that it’s still possible to buck the trend even in these testing times for the high street.

So next time you want to buy a new record or enjoy a pint with your mates, why not try your local independent retailer?

About the Author

Aidan Kerr
Aidan is a third year Journalism student at Leeds Beckett University.

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