When I moved to the Grassmarket I had an initial three year plan. I was sure record shops wouldn’t last forever but I hoped to gradually morph Avalanche into something people would still consider a “record shop”. Involving other businesses was definitely the way forward and I made sure as part of the lease others could be accommodated. I didn’t expect the economy to still be in the state it is of course but generally the idea still holds and Armstrongs pop up shop is a good example. Rough Trade already have other businesses in RTE and it was interesting to see RT’s Stephen Godfroy’s tweet only a couple of days ago.
Avalanche too will need to be more proactive in finding other partners if we are to continue in our fantastic location. We are not short of space which is a huge bonus but businesses these days very much need to be destinations rather than rely on passing trade and on the high street at the moment that isn’t easy. Having said that if you are confident you could add to the Avalanche “experience” feel free to get in touch. We are looking for people prepared to invest time and money in success and not just cash in on the Festival or Christmas. I do get lots of offers but normally from people with even less money than me hoping I’ll try and sell something for them. Having said that the album cover notebooks we sold over Christmas did very well indeed. Interestingly after enquiries about in-stores the most common request I get is to be associated with the Avalanche “brand”. The social media stance of “everything isn’t great all the time” also seems to have struck a chord. It was never a strategy just an extension of what I say in the shop but it does mean people find it more credible if I do say something is good.
Visitors look not only for recommendations of music and gigs but places to eat and pubs to drink in. Only today I had a French travel journalist in for a photoshoot saying his magazine says customers should ask for recommendations. Again we would be happy to accept sponsorship but we really could only endorse things we believed in. We have built up a great relationship with James-Morrow the home entertainment specialists for instance who kindly installed our new system and that relationship may progress to other projects in the future. Red Dog next door of course make all those in-stores we do possible by loaning the equipment we need.
I had hoped to grow things more organically and to a certain extent that has worked but now is the time as I say to be more proactive in looking for business partners. I have been asked if I have ruled out the cafe idea and the answer is no I haven’t but most of our business is later in the day so it would be a long haul building up a regular morning and early afternoon trade as we found out ourselves.
We also have a large office space at the back of the shop that I don’t use that would give any business the potential to also have an office or it could also provide extra storage. There are already potentially a few ideas in the melting pot but I would be very happy to listen to more.