Our location in the arcade pulls the crowds in
The frontage of the shop is all windows. With the arcade having lovely high glass ceilings, it almost has a cathedral effect. When we have live music, the sound travels down the arcade and people are drawn to it. They often gather outside and look through the shop windows to see what's going on, much to our performers' surprise.
The lovely thing is that music is so inclusive
People of all ages come to the shop. For example, when we had an in-store with the band Idles, a seven-year-old come in on her dad’s shoulders to see them. Many of our customers are regulars who we’ve known for a long time. There’s a guy who has been shopping here for over 40 years. He puts his orders in over email and then cycles 20 miles in from Bridgend to collect them. Music is for everyone.
Live in-store music is a vital part of what we do
Wales is its own country with its own language and music scene, which is just going from strength to strength. The reach, scope and range of Welsh music is absolutely blossoming. For us, supporting that scene means first of all supporting live performance in the community. Anybody who has a record shop near them with free live music should go along!
People choose to come here rather than shop online
That conscious decision to go somewhere where you have human interaction, being able to browse, customer service... that’s all a really big thing for me and for our customers. It’s true that there are many options nowadays for buying online. But when I first started out, there was a lot more competition from other record shops on the streets of Cardiff. In the end, I’m not a retail fanatic – I’m a music fanatic. I just love to be around music, and it’s about the personal interaction.
People of all ages come to the shop. For example, when we had an in-store with the band Idles, a seven-year-old come in on her dad’s shoulders to see them.
Supporting Welsh industry is incredibly important
Our bags come from an independent Welsh company, and we’ve had the same supplier for over 20 years. Our merchandise is printed by another independent Welsh company that we’ve been using for just as long. When we buy technology or get our computers fixed, it’s from a guy who’s down the road.
My dad ran the business from the 1970s until I bought it from him in 2010
He’s amazed I’ve done it, without implying that he didn’t think I could do it. He knows first-hand how tough and competitive music retailing can be. It’s a huge market, but it’s a decreasing market. He thinks I shouldn’t work so hard. In fact, even my other half says there are three people – one being the shop – in our relationship.
I don’t want to take over the world
Over-the-counter music sales have consistently been holding their own since I took over the business from my dad in 2010. I have absolutely no desire to expand or to do anything massively lucrative, other than sustain the viability of Spillers for more years to come. I just want to run a lovely, sustainable record shop in Cardiff for the people who value that.