Dream of owning a record shop? This owner is looking for his successor
Robert Charles-Dunne has been dealing in vinyl for more than 2 decades
Robert Charles-Dunne has sourced and sold the coolest, the newest and the most prized vinyl to countless Ontario music lovers for the last 23 years.
Now, the owner of the Village Idiot in London, Ont., says it's time to hang up the 45s and retire. The trouble is, Charles-Dunne wants to find a successor who loves the business and the music as much as he does.
"When somebody comes up with a record in their hands and they're kind of trembling a bit and saying, 'Do you know how long I've been looking for this?' There's nothing sweeter," Charles-Dunne said.
His store isn't big. In fact, it's squeezed into a corner building behind a restaurant and a massage therapy clinic in the south-end of the city.
But it's a fixture and because of another, fictional record store, it earned a reputation with Canadians who listened the CBC's Vinyl Cafe.
In 2004, Charles-Dunne wrote host Stuart McLean his first letter about life in the store and the similarities he sees between it and the radio program's main character Dave, who also runs a neighbourhood record shop.
Ten years later, Charles-Dunne penned a second letter, found here in the Vinyl Cafe archives, about the loss of a spouse, sudden responsibilities and a new philosophy toward music.
"There are two types of people who buy music at our store, and I presume at all the other record stores too: those to whom music gives great joy, and those to whom it gives refuge from pain that might otherwise be overwhelming," he wrote in 2014.
LISTEN | Robert Charles-Dunne describes life at the Village Idiot:
His letter resonated with Canadians, some of whom Charles-Dunne said made special trips to the Village Idiot to see the place and to meet him. Every day though, he explains how people of all ages come through the door in search of a sound.
"This tiny, dinky little store in London has sold more copies of some Canadian bands than any other store in the country. That's just from playing a good piece of work and having people come in and go, 'damn, I need to know who that is,'" said Charles-Dunne.
It's one of the reasons he has hope that the right person will walk in and buy the place. He wants to retire after more than two decades and believes his successor is out there.
"The fall back position is to truck everything to Toronto where the price tags are much higher anyway, but that's a fall back. That's my absolutely last recourse, and I will not do it willingly."