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Before you go online to order your vinyl, go downtown

Despite Fredericton’s status as a musically diverse city, there haven’t been many options in the past for music purchasing. If HMV doesn’t have what you’re looking for, where should you turn?

The answer used to be Backstreet Records and Backstreet Records alone. That’s all changed with the arrival of Secondspin Records.

“I started collecting records when I was 16 and haven’t stopped since,” said 37 year-old co-owner, Kris Hopper. “We’ve been open in Saint John for 11 years. We had enough vinyl saved up, and overstock.”

At the beginning of August, Hopper and his brother, Mike, opened their second store, this time in the capital city. The duo has been thinking about expanding for quite some time.

“We’ve been thinking about it for the last three years. We couldn’t find any great locations and had problems with lease agreements. Then about four months ago, we found a spot on York Street, the owner was willing to negotiate and that’s kind of how we got the spot. And it’s an awesome location.”

Hopper added that everything has been going great for them since opening on Aug. 9.

“There’s been a lot of positive comments from kids and older people, who have been collecting for years. People range from 16 to 35-40. So it’s been great and we can’t wait to see even more faces.”

Eric Hill runs Backstreet Records on Queen Street. The store has been around for about 26 years. He believes that business hasn’t dropped for them as a result of Secondspin’s arrival in town.

“August and September are two busy months, with tourists and students coming back to town. Our sales have been pretty consistent with what they have been in previous years. So it’s hard to say that we’re seeing new faces or losing business at this point.”

Hill said that his customers are what really set him apart from other places.

“Our longevity gives us a little individuality, and because we’ve been open so long, we’ve maintained customers,” he said.

“We’ve had people who have been customers of ours for over 20 years and now they have teenagers who are coming in. So now we have second generation of customers.”

With two record stores in town, you’d think there would be a rivalry. But Hill actually thinks this will help the city.

“You worry that competition will dilute things but there wasn’t much selection as to where you can get music. If you didn’t see something you wanted, then people would go online. But with this new place, it creates a network. But we’re just going to continue with the way we’ve done things.“

Hopper agrees.

“Competition is always healthy. I used to shop there when I was a kid and I know the guys,” he said, adding that “they probably carry different titles than what we sell.”

“They’ve got their client base and we’re just doing our thing. We love music and we love vinyl and we both just want to spread that to the people of Fredericton.”

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