If it wasn’t for the fact that the Beatles basically dictated the life of one 15-year-old music nerd, Ditch Records & CDs would just be a phantom of Victoria’s imagination.
“It was my 15-year-old dream to be a record store owner ... and every year the store does better than its previous year,” says a now 41-year-old JR Robinson, store owner and creator of the shop.
Robinson, who got his start at comic book stores, then A&B Sound, Lyle’s Place and Cargo Records in Montreal, opened Ditch in 1998. The store has expanded twice, moving from Johnson Street to Yates, to its current location at 784 Fort. The music mecca is filled with niche categories and obscure titles, thanks to its trade-in policy which accounts for almost 50 per cent of new stock. The store is not “success driven” by conventional terms – Robinson’s personal success comes from having a strong customer base.
Robinson says he’s committed to selling CDs in the store forever. And though vinyl has come back with a strong fan base, Robinson even sells cassettes to meet the new demand. Still, he isn’t looking to make major changes anytime soon.
“Record stores themselves are really nostalgic, so change is tricky,” says Robinson. “The fact is, stores like this are not everywhere.”
Learn more about Ditch Records & CDs at ditchrecords.com.