Barry stays in the groove as record shops collapse

P23diwed1'Pictured is Barry Everard owner of Record Collector on Fulwood Road,Broomhill.
P23diwed1'Pictured is Barry Everard owner of Record Collector on Fulwood Road,Broomhill.

BARRY Everard has been running his record shop in Broomhill for 35 years.

Stocking a huge range of CDs and vinyl, Record Collector has been acknowledged as one of the best independent stores of its type in the country, hailed by the likes of Richard Hawley.

“We have got something for everybody,” says Barry, who was formerly manager of Virgin Records at Moorfoot. “We are like the shops that people remember - Cann’s, Wilson Peck, Bradleys ... If people ask for something, there is a high expectation that we have got it.”

Memories of Sheffield record shops that have spun into history were evoked this week as the HMV chain, which has outlets in High Street and Meadowhall, went into administration.

In recent years, Sheffield city centre has lost other chains - Zavvi (formerly Virgin), Our Price, Fopp - and an independent, Jack’s Record’s, off Division Street, in the face of competition from online retailers, digital downloads and supermarkets.

All the time Barry has been flying the flag in Fulwood Road, after starting just with second hand stock.

The last record shop in Sheffield? Well, Rare and Racy in Devonshire Street still sells music along with books.

But it could be argued that Barry was running the last of the city’s ‘real’ record shops before the collapse of HMV. There are no DVDs, tee-shirts, books or games alongside the 20,000 CDs and 50,000 vinyl albums in Record Collector.

“We have always stayed 100% true to the music. We have had the option of diversifying to games and DVDs, but we have always found that if you know what you are doing your clientele will stick with you.”

He greets the threat to HMV with sadness. “Most record shops have a solidarity with other record shops rather than the competition that is perceived. The competition is the downloading and mail order CD companies that have a financial advantage because they pay off-shore tax.”

HMV’s 239 stores will remain open while administrators Deloitte assess the prospects for the business and seek potential buyers. In total around 4,350 jobs are at risk.

“I think HMV will have a shop in Sheffield for years to come because High Street is a superb location and it’s a strong brand,” says Barry.

At the same time, he remains a passionate advocate of the type of specialist outlet for old and new music - displaying everything from rock to jazz to world music, a place to flick through the racks and to chance upon new delights, and somewhere to mix with fellow enthusiasts.

“This place is like a museum,” says Barry. “We have a huge selection of every type of music, with all the up-to-date stuff that people would expect from a decent record shop. We are a socially responsible part of the community that people look upon with affection.”

It remains to be seen whether public affection will save HMV.