Look no further than the Copy Shop man.
After declaring the ‘I’d do it’ in a conversation with some mates about starting up a record store on the Island, Jack Doyle took to the Copy Shop to test the proof in his boldness by having some posters printed with the words: RECORDS WANTED. Perhaps just to see in black and white, the reality of his claim. Though it turned out the fella at the counter used to work for Manx Radio and had a collection near to 300 records offered there and then to Jack for the taking.
Off the back his first auspicious encounter, Jack embarked on field trips in the name of Sound Records: scouting about record fairs in England to see the scope, survey and ask for pointers in running a business, all the while being in between jobs and still managing to work the odd day at St. Christopher’s children’s homes. Unashamedly, Jack conceded at the beginning ‘How do I even do this?!’ like anyone would, but as it stands his endeavours have seen the creation of Sound Records, the Island’s first independent record store since ‘Shocks’ of the 80s and the first retailer of vinyl since HMV folded in January of last year. He is now on the cusp of turning his off the cuff vow of opening a record store into a full-time living, as the New Year offers nothing but prospects for him.
Jack alludes to his travels and the well being that came with them as an important reminder of finding fulfilment. Meeting new people by the day, exchanging ideas and hearing about the different stages of life brought him joy and an autonomy that he was adamant he could attain back on the Island.‘You get away from being away and realise there are so many different ways of living and realise what home can be. I was always promoting the Isle of Man but realised that it’s a place with so much more to give.’Sincerely he said to himself, ‘I don’t want to be wishing my days away.‘The idea that people go to work and say “I wish today was over” is such a backwards way of thinking.’And in his defiance, he admits he has had those days since he’s been home but has never been disheartened when it came to focusing on the record store.
True record collectors are renowned for their particular buying habits similar to collectors of Nike trainers. One to wear, one to sell, and one to keep in the box. Despite advice from other store owners to flog his own to get off the ground, Jack is resigned to selling his personal records as he is unwilling to compromise what he cherishes for the sake of making an extra few quid.‘If I sell my collection, then that means it’s 100% work.’It’s this attitude of a mellow self-assurance that is endearing and he draws it from a very honest place, simply of wanting to share in his love of vinyl with the community. Jack began building up a collection for Sound Records as it incarnated first as a pop up in Mother Ts Café in Laxey, equipped nostalgically with a listening booth. 3 months into it and come April, Jack found that he and his shop were doing the rounds on the hourly news bulletin of national radio. Sound Records was the Island’s first ever ambassador for Record Store Day, the international celebration of vinyl and independents.
Over the summer, Jack took stall opportunities at the Castletown Markets, as well as popping up at Deep South Festival, Dark Horse and Beltane to finally assume a well-earned residency at Bushy’s over TT. With London-like rent prices dictating high street spaces on the Island, improvising with pop-ups, mobile shops and market stalls seemed like the only way of sustaining the idea. Speaking to Jack, he sees a network of budding young people on the Island who may be put off by unforgiving territory when it comes to self-enterprise and working your own niche, particularly when there’s a guaranteed 20-something K salary in the security of the finance sector. ‘But the opportunities are massive.’ he says. ‘I don’t know if there’s anywhere in the world that will support you the way I have been. That’ll give you a living allowance and half your investment back. It’s zero risk if you know what you’re doing.’ Jack cites the Government’s grant scheme as an invaluable player in assisting with the maintenance of the store’s momentum and will passionately implore anyone with an idea to make something of it. ‘If that wasn’t there [Micro Business Grant Scheme] I wouldn’t be able to do this. You get your support…Just look for what’s missing. Go to any big city and see what’s popular. Come home and set it up. Chances are, we won’t have it and when we get it, people will get behind it.’
Encouraged by the store’s initial progress and growing reputation, Jack went away on a routine trip to another record fair whilst harbouring a loose idea of buying stock for vintage clothes.‘I requested 1990 by the Temptations and got talking to the guy behind the counter, and I told him how I was trying to set up a record shop on the Isle of Man. I mentioned I was into vintage clothes too and he said how they had a big warehouse in Liverpool. Turns out, he was the managing director of a whole organisation. This vintage clothes company has shops in Liverpool, Manchester, London, Sweden, New York. He was only in that shop for half an hour because he was covering shifts. And it was that half an hour I was in there.’As of December last year, Jack set up a pop up in Onchan’s Village Walk and had his lease extended to February.‘Originally the idea was to have a 7m long van as a portable shop or a rolling record store. So I wanted to do up a van, sell from there and then save up to move into a shop. But the way it’s happened, the van has taken longer and been more expensive than I thought, so that’s on the side.‘Now I’m moving into a shop so I can pay off the van. Hopefully, by having a base, it will attract more people so I get can the van up and running and eventually take Sound Records around the Island and across.’
Jacks’s new permanent record store opens TOMORROW, on International Record Store Day!The new location is, Lower Ground Floor at 9-11 Duke Street (in the basement under the amazing Rehab2).For more information, follow the Sound Records Facebook page, and be sure to pop in tomorrow for a dig.