One of Edinburgh’s few remaining record shops has announced that it will not reopen, following its enforced closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unknown Pleasures has been based on Edinburgh’s Canongate for 14 years, but its owner has detailed the reasons that it would only be able to continue online, even after non-essential businesses were allowed to open once again.
The shop opened in 2006 as what owner Mike Craig described as “a bricks-and-mortar spin-off to our already established website”. Following establishing his vinyl business in Halifax in the late 1990s, Craig moved to Scotland and opened a shop in St Andrews in 2005 with the Edinburgh branch following the year after.
In a Facebook post, he explained the difficulties that the tiny retail unit would face if it were to reopen.
“We have an extremely small premises which makes social distancing very difficult; we have a store that people enjoy spending long periods of time browsing in, which makes it tough when limiting customer numbers and implementing a queuing system. We have a store where people like to flick through the racks, touching literally everything, and we have a responsibility to keep everything hygienic and safe for both our customers and staff.”
“As with many shops in Edinburgh, we largely depend on both the summer tourist trade and the Festival, both of which will be non-existent this year. We depend on groups of friends and tourists wandering down the Royal Mile, and we can no longer allow groups in to the shop. Despite all this, we continue to have high rent to pay, which is due to be increased shortly.
“We won’t rule out re-opening at another location further down the line once things return to some kind of normality, but certainly at the moment we can’t justify it.”
Customer have expressed their disappointment, including author and music fan Ian Rankin, who tweeted: “Hellish news. Great wee shop. Always found a bit of treasure there”.
However, online sales will still continue and gift vouchers can be redeemed, at www.vinylnet.co.uk.