'It's about time': Flood-damaged Kingston record store to reopen

After a freak summer flood forced months of repairs and renovations, Brian's Record Option in Kingston, Ont., is opening its doors again.

Community rallied behind Brian's Record Option after 2018 construction mishap

Brian's Record Option in Kingston, Ont., has been forced to close its doors indefinitely after flooding damaged inventory on Saturday. (Michael Cole) 0:28

After a months-long repair and renovation project forced by a freak summer flood, a much-loved record store in Kingston, Ont., is opening its doors again.

Construction work near Brian's Record Option inadvertently flooded the Princess Street shop early last August, destroying tens of thousands of vinyl records, cassettes, CDs, posters and books.

Owner Brian Lipsin wasn't sure if he'd be able to reopen, but he said money from his insurance and community fundraisers covered the cost of the rebuild.

The shop opens back up at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday.

"It's about time," Lipson told CBC Radio's Ontario Morning on Wednesday.

"I've hated being in limbo for so long."

Brian Lipsin in his Kingston, Ont., record store. (Brian's Record Option/Facebook)

Three-tenths of inventory destroyed

Lipsin said he was inside the shop on Aug. 4 when he heard water gurgling. Then, he said, the basement started filling with water.

All in all, about 30 per cent of his inventory was destroyed, and the store required extensive repairs.

Lipsin said when locals heard him tell the media he wasn't sure if he could reopen, the response was swift and strong.

"That headline set something in motion with the community, and people said. 'No, you have to stay open. We need you.'"

He's since been sharing reconstruction updates on Facebook during the months of work.

Now less cluttered

"They had to get the water out. After that they spent a month and a half taking out all the records — I had approximately 140,000," he said.

"Then they removed the mould. The floors were completely taken out and rebuilt. About half the walls were taken out to get out the mould. It was a total rebuild."

Lipsin said customers will notice some positive differences: for instance, the store is more organized now that everything's been taken out, sorted and put back.

"It's a complete change," Lipsin said. "The character is still there but it's a bit different."

With files from CBC Radio's Ontario Morning


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