'They have the desire to go the extra mile' - Richard Branson's praise for Norwich 'record bus' Blossom Records
PUBLISHED: 13:04 27 February 2014 | UPDATED: 20:38 27 February 2014
Sir Richard Branson has showered praise on a Norwich record shop that will soon relaunch as a bus selling vinyl.
Blossom Records, in Bridewell Alley, will close its doors on Record Store Day - Saturday, April 19.
Owners Blossom Bloyce, 26, and Adi Walder, 44, said their decision to close was “frustrating” but they wanted to move to a larger premises and had not received finanical backing from banks despite having a strong customer base.
Efforts to move to a larger shop unit in Norwich were thwarted, so the business partners decided to take their vinyls on the road in an adapted record shop bus.
They are saving up for an old Bedford TK horsebox and hope it will be up and running this summer, when they will start to tour the UK.
Before making the decision, Blossom had written to Sir Richard - whose empire began with Virgin Records - to ask for advice.
And to her surprise, he replied this month.
Sir Richard wrote: “In an age when record shops are disappearing from the high streets and music sales are dwindling, it is refreshing to see Blossom Records carving out their own niche in the market.
“They have personality, they are distinctive, they know their market and, most importantly, they have the desire to go the extra mile.”
Blossom said: “It’s still kind of sinking in for us. It doesn’t feel real.”
And Blossom Records is set to go the “extra mile” when its record bus is ready.
They are vying to raise £15,000 to buy the vehicle, which they hope to convert to use bio-diesel, have solar panels on the roof and strive to be carbon neutral.
It would have space for 500 records - ten times the amount displayed in the shop - and would be decorated in bright colours and with pictures of famous musicians.
“It will be like walking into an amusement type place, like a time machine,” said Blossom. “It needs to be noticed.
“We want something that people stuck driving behind think it’s cool and it makes people smile.”
They hope life on the road means they can be closer to the community, and will also be launching a not-for-profit record label called Sick Note.
And they hope to be in Norwich - which they dubbed their “spiritual home” - at least once per month.
“There’s a lot of support and love for the shop in Norwich,” said Adi. “People are upset that we’re closing and it would be disrespectful to them not to come back, as they have made us who we are and I’m going to miss our regulars, hearing their stories and the first records they bought.”
They hope they will be able to create jobs if the record bus is a success, and dream of a small chain of record shops.
If people wish to help Blossom and Adi towards their £15,000 goal they will receive unique artwork by Blossom, who has a first class honours degree in visual studies from Norwich University of the Arts.
To donate, see www.crowdfunder.co.uk/highway61revisited
The pair are appealing for old music magazines to decorate the bus with, and have a sale that runs until March 7.