After nearly 40 years of selling sounds new and old at Record Collector in Broomhill, the prospect of retirement is on the horizon for the shop’s owner, Barry Everard.
Customers needn’t fret - he, and the Fulwood Road business, aren’t going anywhere yet. But as part of a ‘long-term plan’, an application has been submitted to Sheffield Council seeking permission to turn half of the store - the CD shop - into a restaurant or café.
While sales of compact discs have fallen in recent years, vinyl is undergoing a big revival, so it is envisaged that Record Collector’s smaller outlet, next door to the CD shop, continues unchanged.
“I’m just at a point where I’m looking to keep my options open,” said Barry. “I’m trying to go for this as an exercise in seeing what may be allowed in terms of an idea, going forward.”
But he added: “When you approach retirement age there’s a pull from the customer base to carry on, because that’s what you’re there for and they love what you’re doing. I take my responsibility to the Sheffield music scene very seriously. But the Sheffield music scene has to reciprocate as well.”
The upper floors of the shop’s two premises are currently used to keep stock, but the plans suggest turning the first and second floors of the CD shop building to housing.
“Because I own the building, I have to assess the options for the best way to deal with it,” Barry said. Other possibilities would be considered, he emphasised.
“It could be someone asks why I don’t kit out the whole space for vinyl. There’s a big old space that’s basically occupied by CDs. If there’s a decline in the physical CD market on the high street then there’s not a long-term guarantee that people will want CD shops.”
But Barry - who was manager of Virgin Records at Moorfoot before setting up in Broomhill in 1978 - predicted the vinyl shop would keep on thriving as music fans revert to it as their format of choice.
“I don’t see any reason why a shop with this heritage can’t continue.”
Record Collector has been recognised as one of the best independent stores of its kind in the country. Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker and Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott have sung its praises, and 400-strong queues line up outside on Record Store Day each April.
Council officers will scrutinise the café plan before a verdict on any potential change of use is reached.