Suffolk town becoming a vinyl haven as stores open side-by-side

Onion Vinyl and Grooveyard Records have opened next door to each other in Orwell Road, Felixstowe

Onion Vinyl and Grooveyard Records have opened next door to each other in Orwell Road, Felixstowe. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A twist of fate has resulted in vinyl record stores opening next door to each other in a seaside town. 

Grooveyard Records has opened next door to Onion Vinyl in Orwell Road, Felixstowe and the town is becoming a haven for record stores with other businesses, including Nick Barber Auctions in Hamilton Road, also in the trade. 

However, Grooveyard owner Garry O’Malley said it was ‘pure coincidence’ that he had opened next door to Onion Vinyl and he was good friends with his neighbouring store owner, Steve Kendall. 

Some of the albums on the shelves at Grooveyard Records

Some of the albums on the shelves at Grooveyard Records - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr Kendall told him that he was going to be opening his store in the former Age UK premises, which was by chance right next door to Mr O’Malley. 

He said: “I can’t think of any town this size that has record stores side-by-side. It is a pure coincidence, that is all it is.” 

Figures from trade body the British Phonographic Industry have highlighted the continuing growth of record sales, which have increased annually for the last 14 years. 

Garry O'Malley, owner of Grooveyard Records

Garry O'Malley, owner of Grooveyard Records - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

In 2021, more than five million vinyl records were sold, an increase of 11% on the previous year, with records making up 23% of all album sales. 

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Mr O’Malley said many people preferred records because they could listen to the whole album at leisure and a ‘slower’ pace, whereas with online streaming there was a tendency to change between tracks. 

The physical feel of handling the record and album cover was also important and people found enjoyment in seeing the artwork and detail on album covers and CDs. 

Mr O'Malley said he was 'blown away' by the response since his shop opened

Mr O'Malley said he was 'blown away' by the response since his shop opened - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

As well as vinyl, the Grooveyard store also sells CDs and posters at the premises, which used to be Poor Richard’s Book Shop until Mr O’Malley completely refurbished it to provide a bright and vibrant record store that is attractive for people to visit. 

He said he wanted visitors to enjoy the experience of visiting his shop and even if they did not make a purchase, they still went away happier for having been able to look around and browse the collections. 

Records and CDs from a broad array of musical genres are available, ranging from classic rock albums by Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin to the pop of Britney Spears and business has been booming since the shop opened. 

Mr O’Malley added: “We opened on Good Friday and we have just been absolutely blown away by the response from the public. It has been absolutely brilliant.”