Store Owner interview with Dave Muir of Sloth Records
Store Name: Sloth Records
Slogan/Motto: In Music We Trust
Year Established: 1997
Address: 1508 4th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta T2R 0Y4, Canada
Store Hours: 11- 7, 7 days a week
Phone Number: 403-265-6585
Do You Have a Listening Station: Yes
Musical Styles You Specialize in: Indie, Punk, Metal, Hardcore, Hiphop, reggae, Soul, Jazz
Musical Styles You Exclude: Classical, Country, Top 40
Other Items You Sell: Shirts, DVDs, DJ equipment, patches, stickers, books, accessories
Do you do special orders: yes
Do you do mail order: yes
Do you do web orders: no
Number of Employees: 6
How often do you have in-store performances: once a month
Number of New CDs in stock: 10000
Number of Used CDs in stock: 1000
Number of New LPs in stock: 4000
Number of Used LPs in stock: 5000
Number of New 7”s in stock: 500
Number of Used 7”s in stock: 300
QRD – Why did you start your store?
Dave – Lack of a niche record store in the city.
QRD – How does your store particularly appeal to your city?
Dave – We are the only real record store left.
QRD – What’s a mistake you’ve made with your store that you’d warn others against?
Dave – Sell your stock!
QRD – What do you think indie record labels could do to best help both themselves & indie stores?
Dave – Make good records & don’t give your stuff away for free.
QRD – How was the representation of indie storeowners & customers in the movie High Fidelity accurate & inaccurate to your experience?
Dave – Ha-ha! Pretty close really.
QRD – What type of research do you do to decide what to put on the shelves?
Dave – Listen to everything.
QRD – Is it ever difficult to find the right distributors to get something you want to stock?
Dave – Yes, but only for the classic vinyl re-issues.
QRD – What do you wish labels or bands or distributors did more of to work with you?
Dave – Send more promo copies & coop ads in zines.
QRD – What do you think is your store’s all time best seller?
Dave – Modest Mouse.
QRD – What do you think most leads to a particular record being a good seller in your store?
Dave – A title that is not carried at the chain stores.
QRD – How does one get an independent release into your store such that it’s recommended to the clientele instead of just sitting on the shelf?
Dave – Make a good record & deal direct if you have to.
QRD – How do you feel about so many stores closing & how does it affect you if at all?
Dave – It is disenchanting, but business is good.
QRD – What type of competition do you get from the big box stores (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc.) & is it difficult to compete price-wise - i.e., do you find that potential customers will shop at the chain because they can afford to charge less for the same discs or do they support you if the disc is a dollar higher in price?
Dave – We will not even try to compete; why bother, just do the other things better.
QRD – With portable MP3 players & iTunes, is the concept of the album (in any form) dying?
Dave – Yes, it is unfortunately unless the copyright laws are reformed.
QRD – How has the downloading scene impacted your sales - do you find that people buy less CDs now because they can download them for less or do you or do you think illegal downloads are more of a culprit?
Dave – Illegal downloads must stop.
QRD – Record & CD buyers tend to be of a certain age (21-34), as the upcoming people who will be of that age group are mostly download-buyers, would you like stores to eventually have “iPod filling stations” hooked up to an indie network that stores can be part of?
Dave – That could work, but then what about the artwork etc?
QRD – With the increase in digital downloads, low prices in mega-chains, & so many online specialty stores; what is the job of the local indie shop now compared to in the 1990s?
Dave – Maintain the “Aura” of the record store & get people off their computers.
QRD – What are the biggest misconceptions people have of record stores in general & yours in particular?
Dave – That we have everything.
QRD – What is the most frustrating &/or frequent question you get from customers?
Dave – When special orders cannot be filled.
QRD – How do you decide who to hire as an employee & when you need one?
Dave – Very carefully.
QRD – If you weren’t in the music business, what would you do?
Dave – Selling tacos.
QRD – How did your schooling & previous work experience prepare (or not prepare) you for your store?
Dave – Not at all.
QRD – Have you ever refused to sell something purely because you disliked the music, even if it was popular & would sell?
Dave – Yes.
QRD – What is your personal “holy grail”? (i.e. the one rarity you’ve been looking for forever.)
Dave – There are many.
QRD – What makes you feel like you had a good day at the store?
Dave – Great sales.
QRD – Anything else?
Dave – Illegal downloading must stop. Copyright laws are outdated & must be reformed.
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