Gloves, masks and mail order - how city’s record stores are coping with social distancing

PUBLISHED: 10:30 27 June 2020

John Naylor at Beatniks in Norwich. Photo by Simon Finlay.

John Naylor at Beatniks in Norwich. Photo by Simon Finlay.

From completely reshuffling a shop to sterilising items using UV lights, Norwich’s record stores have shaken up their businesses to reopen.

Beatniks record store in Norwich. 
Photo by Simon Finlay.Beatniks record store in Norwich. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Beatniks on Magdalen Street, in the city centre, opened its doors to customers on Monday, June 15, when nonessential shops were given the go ahead to reopen by the government.

But with record stores usually a place for music lovers to casually browse, flipping through their impressive array of records, measures to maintain social distancing have been key.

John Naylor, who owns the store, said the first few days had gone well and added: “The first week and up to Monday was very, very good, not that I’m thinking this is going to be an indicator of what we’ve got to come but I was very pleased, a lot of the usual people have been in.”

Mr Naylor said he had introduced a number of changes to make social distancing possible in the store, including limiting the number of customers inside at any one time.

Fine City Sounds in Norwich city centre. Photo by Simon Finlay.Fine City Sounds in Norwich city centre. Photo by Simon Finlay.

“We spent a lot of time getting the shop ready, I spent 25 hours removing racks and cleaning the surfaces and everything,” he said.

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Elsewhere in the city Andrew Watson, one of the co-owners of Fine City Sounds on Pottergate, said after a positive start footfall had slowed.

He said: “The first day was great like everywhere else, then it gradually got worse and worse. We have changed our opening hours to 10am to 1.30pm so it gone gradually downhill, people are too wary to come out.”

Circular Sounds on St Benedicts Street Norwich. Picture: Google MapsCircular Sounds on St Benedicts Street Norwich. Picture: Google Maps

Mr Watson said he had put hand sanitiser in the shop, along with gloves and masks if customers wanted them.

On St Benedicts Street, Martin Webb decided to keep his shop Circular Sounds closed, focusing on the online and mail order side of the business during lockdown.

“I’ve got family young and old and I’d rather keep safe but over the period of time we’ve been closed I have been working everyday doing mail order and at the moment I’d rather do that than fully open.”

Mr Webb took the decision to close his store a week before lockdown was enforced and said: “I saw what was going on in Italy and I closed a week early.

“We will reopen but I’m going to hold off until the end of the month.”

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