'It's vital that independent shops are supported so that not all high streets look exactly the same', says Sheffield shop owner
“Do something you are passionate about, make sure you have some money behind you and do your research.”
That’s the advice of Martin Leverton, the owner of Music Junkee, an independent music shop in the city centre.
Martin has been running the business for ten years overall, and for the last three and a half years it has been based on Earl Street, just off the Moor.
He said: “We are basically running three business in one here now; the instrument shop downstairs, which is Music Junkee, and then the vinyl shop and the live gig venue upstairs under the Record Junkee name.”
He is joined in the shop by colleagues Greg Cameron, who is the in-house promoter for Record Junkee and David Sinclair, who is a guitar expert.
There are also some part-time staff, but it's mainly just the three of them keeping the shop running.
“It can be a strain, because there's only three of us full-time,” said Martin, “but we just keep working hard and make it work.
“I often work seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm. I live in Retford, and it’s a way to come, so you have to be passionate and love what you do.”
Greg Cameron – who has recently had a baby and must now balance his job with fatherhood duties – said the team are small but close and have come a ‘brotherhood'.
He added: “We see each other every day in work and also socialise outside of work, we are all friends.”
The team have faced challenges over the years, but they have proudly kept their place on the high street.
Martin said: “In order to survive, we have had to keep up with changes and adapt – and all independent businesses will be the same. We sell online now as well as in store, and use Facebook, but it takes a lot of time to sort all that.
“People do like buying online, but we offer the chance to come in to the store and try an instrument before you buy – you can’t get that if you buy via a computer.
“It is tough times for independent shops, but it’s vital that they are supported – and people are encouraged to start new ones – so that not all high streets look exactly the same.”
The store has lots of regular customers, both to Music Junkee and Record Junkee, so it’s clearly hitting the right chord with customers - and the bands who play there.
Greg said: “What’s awesome is that people will come and see a band here even though they don’t know them just because they love the venue and they know they are going to be looked after here.”
Martin added: “We’ve had some big names play here, such as Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, who like us because we offer an intimate setting and they think it’s cool.”
Proof that you don't have to be a big chain, or even a big shop, to be successful.
To find out more about Music Junkee, please search ‘@MusicJunkeeSheffield’ on Facebook, where you will find details of new products available and in-store events. To find out more about Record Junkee, please search ‘@RecordJunkee’ on Facebook, where you will find a list of all the venues upcoming gigs.