Who would have thought that this year ‘Record labels expect to make more money from the sale of vinyl records than CDs for the first time since 1987’ as reported in ‘The Independent‘?
So not only is James Nickerson 'Travelling the Groove' - he also appears to be ahead of the curve! When the travel industry all but collapsed with the onset of lockdown and further travel restrictions last year, James quarter century career in the travel industry, latterly with Thomas Cook ended first with furlough and then full-on redundancy. Instead of the calamity that this might have been James supported by his wife, Kate saw this as an opportunity to embrace his passion for music.
From the age of 13 listening to the Top 40, to discos at school and later working as a DJ while a travel rep overseas, music has played an important part in James life. He would seek out record stores in different countries looking for overseas releases that couldn’t be found in the UK. In those stores he found a camaraderie and a sense of anticipation that he has long wanted to recreate. Now was that moment!
So at the end of July last year James set about putting together a business plan the first element of which was to launch a website - a home for new vinyl - featuring the latest new releases, special editions and classic albums as well - steering clear of the 2nd hand market that is well catered for elsewhere. His next step was to take a stand on the Friday Stamford Market and you can find James, now that the market is once again open for non-essential items, located opposite Hambledon Bakery, on Ironmonger street, eyeing up the Eccles cakes! Here he found the mutual support and friendship with the other traders and customers that he had long sought to replicate. Stands were taken at Melton Mowbray and at Grantham Markets and there are plans to attend events throughout the district once restrictions are lifted.
Just as kindles were thought to herald the end of the book so CD’s and online streaming were also thought to mark the end of vinyl. How wrong that was! In fact the more technical and physically absent a product becomes so the desirability of the ‘real’ thing seems to become greater. The record labels have risen to the challenge with coloured vinyl, printed notes and pictures in the sleeve adding to the anticipation of ripping off the cellophane cover. Vinyl is as collectible as ever and fits well with an instagram culture as popular with 13-year-olds as with those in the 45-65 range who can remember many of the albums from the first time around.
Above all James is keen to make vinyl, and himself, as accessible as possible and is happy to give help and advice, offering a unique personal vinyl shopping experience. He stocks record players as well, some from just £80 in a range of colours and designs to complement the modern interior, all featuring inbuilt speakers that are literally just plug and play. Ordering from the website is easy and delivery in Deeping, Bourne and Stamford can be arranged at your convenience.
As with all business start ups it is useful to seek out advice from a business mentor and so James was delighted to be introduced to the Deeping Business Support Group who were able to pay for three sessions with a consultant able to hone some of James ideas and to provide invaluable help to take the business to the next level.
With a bricks and mortar shop firmly in his sights, James is convinced that the healing power of music particularly on vinyl, harking back to a gentler age, will be just what the country needs as it emerges blinking the past year.
This article first appeared in the May 2021 edition of 'I'd Rather be in Deeping' magazine