Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay indie record store welcomes Sunrise

New Day Records and Accessories owner Jason Wellwood says the Sunrise chain's commitment to local music is "fantastic."

Jason Wellwood of New Day says stores in town collaborate to help customers find what they want

New Day Records and Accessories owner Jason Wellwood said it's weird seeing a corporate chain like Sunrise Records promoting vinyl, but it's good if it helps artists get their music to fans. (Heather Kitching/CBC)

The owner of an independent record store in Thunder Bay, Ont., says he welcomes news that Sunrise Records is opening in the city and committing to carrying a large selection of vinyl.

New Day Records and Accessories owner Jason Wellwood told CBC he and the staff of the old HMV store used to work together to help customers find what they wanted, and he hopes to have the same relationship with Sunrise.

"My clients don't just like the weird obscure stuff that you're not going to find at Sunrise," he said.  "They like stuff that a chain record store is going to carry.  And vice versa.  Their clientele probably also likes some of the weird stuff that they can't bring in, so there will be crossover."    

Wellwood is also pleased that the chain is committed to local music, he said.

"Any outlet for our local artists, our local musicians, our local music scene here is a fantastic idea, and if there is a place where more, I guess, mainstream shoppers are going to be able to find out about our local music scene, then that's fantastic," Wellwood said. 

'Weird' to see a corporate chain promoting vinyl

The 10-store Sunrise chain announced in February that it plans to open 70 new stores in spaces abandoned by HMV Canada Inc., which went into receivership in January.  

The 40-year-old chain plans to have all locations open by the end of the summer and is reaching out to former HMV employees to apply for staff positions. 

Sunrise has deeper pockets than Wellwood's shop and a central location in the Intercity Shopping Centre, but Wellwood says he's not concerned about losing business to the corporation, noting that HMV carried vinyl during its final months, and it had little to no impact on his enterprise.   Nor, he said, has the closure of HMV substantially increased his sales.

Wellwood acknowledged it's strange to see a corporate chain promoting vinyl, a format typically associated with niche shops like his.

But it won't make LPs any less "cool," he added.

"There's always going to be an ebb and flow," he said.  "In six years everybody might've reverted to eight-tracks, which would be a horrible horrible idea ... By the time I'm in my 90s, CDs will be cool again."

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