Beccles record shop launch so successful it almost ran out of stock
- Credit: Aspergers East Anglia
A new record shop in Beccles has had such a successful first week that it almost ran out of stock.
The shop, named A Discount Record Shop, opened on March 1 and has already been a huge success.
It is operated by Asperger East Anglia, which works to offer assistance to people with Asperger's syndrome and their carers.
The store was originally a general shop but was rebranded by the charity.
The charity manager, Thecla Fellas, said: "We opened the shop four years ago, as a discount shop for reduced items. For the first couple of years, we did OK, but then the pandemic hit.
"Once we reopened things were much slower, so we decided it was time to see how we could improve our income."
She continued: "Many of charities we noticed further afield were specialising, so Oxfam, for instance, has dedicated bookshops.
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"As we had an abundance of records and musical equipment that had been donated we thought it would be a good idea to open as a record shop.
"It has dramatically improved business. So far we have tripled the income the shop would normally take, and this is on just a part-time basis.
"Everything we sell is donated. It is not just vinyl – we're selling CDs, DVDs, and a lot of musical equipment including cassette and record players, as well as some older retro items.
"If people are coming in to look for an electrical item to do with music, they're going to be buying records too.
"It's quite trendy now too — lots of young people want to go back to using vinyl, they are interested in it."
Ms Fellas added: "We are selling on eBay too. We'd noticed that the popularity of vinyl had increased on eBay, so that is, why we thought opening up a specialist shop might help— We were trying really hard to evolve in a time when businesses were struggling."
"Footfall in Beccles is definitely quieter than before Covid.
"We have another shop and we've spoken to the other charity shops around town, and while they have their good days and bad days, business here has definitely been slower.
"It hasn't quite gone back to how it was before — people are buying online, and we know this because our online sales are as strong as ever.
"We were fortunate that we sold online, it was the thing that kept this charity afloat. If it wasn't for them we'd have really struggled to open again. We thought we'd take this opportunity to evolve and not have all our eggs in one basket."
"We have staff that have got really good at telling when something is worth a lot of money, the research it properly and compare the prices to what's being sold online."
Ms Fellas also spoke about how well this meshes with the charity work.
She said: "We train young people with autism to do this as well. "e aren't just a charity that tries to make money, we support people with autism and the money we raise helps us do that.
"We train young people with a keen eye, and that's how we price things up. Our young people who we train come in and feel the benefit of working in an environment and building up their skills- it's like work experience."
In addition to offering work experience in their shops, Asperger East Anglia also has a number of other services to help people with autism.
Among these are a pair of social groups, where young people are taken out with support staff to have a day out.
Ms Fellas said: "Improving their ability to interact and socialise with other people helps them cope better in education, and with their own families.
"We also do training, if employers would like help supporting one of their employees, and we have a benefit and welfare advisor, who helps people make any applications they need to make."