Sheffield shop’s ‘musical destination’ ambition gains momentum

Joe Blanchard who has opened Bear Tree Records in Orchard Square as vinyl makes a comeback
Picture Dean Atkins
Joe Blanchard who has opened Bear Tree Records in Orchard Square as vinyl makes a comeback Picture Dean Atkins
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Sheffield city centre’s newest record shop is expanding just a year after it opened.

Bear Tree Records was set up last November in one of the upstairs craft workshops in Orchard Square, representing another sign of the vinyl format’s unlikely resurgence.

The shop’s owner Joe Blanchard - who runs the business essentially as a one-man operation - is moving next door to a larger space up to four times the size of the existing unit.

The current workshop is ‘filled to the brim’, he says, and the move will allow him to extend the shop’s activities.

A crowdfunding appeal to cover the cost of fitting out the new space exceeded its target of £4,000, while around £8,000 is needed to buy fresh stock from distributors.

“Having a bigger space will allow us double the amount of stock we carry, hopefully offer more variety, potentially look at doing signings and in- stores and push the shop forwards to hopefully be a destination record shop in the city centre,” said Joe.

Work on the expansion is expected to start within weeks. Bear Tree focuses on new and second-hand releases from a broad range of genres, and aims to offer a personal touch - all of the records have a descriptive note attached written by Joe.

Last year 2.1 million LPs were purchased in the UK as vinyl sales climbed 64 per cent to a 21-year high.

n Visit www.gofundme.com/2rkargzw to donate.