About Loafers Vinyl & Coffee
Give us the background... when and why did you decide to open your store Loafers?
I’m Mark and I grew up in Leeds but for the last 20 years I have lived in Halifax. After working in management within Financial Services for 20 years, I was made redundant at the beginning of 2017. I’d always wanted to own a record shop and once the opportunity to make it happen, in the stunning location of the Piece Hall in Halifax arose, I knew it was the right time to do it.
I LOVE music, all kinds of genres and there’s nothing better than playing great records in your shop, talking about the songs, the artists and seeing the shop full of music lovers. It’s great to see people enjoying the atmosphere, with a freshly ground coffee, which is an important aspect of the shop too. I really wanted to create a community place, a haven for music lovers to enjoy the eclectic selection of music on offer, drink great coffee and talk with other music fans... I love watching the shop when it’s busy and that’s what gives me the most enjoyment.
It’s a real community place, which attracts people of all ages due to the broad selection of vinyl we stock. Because we’re situated within a huge Georgian building, (the last remaining Georgian cloth hall in the UK), we have a constant flow of footfall, in addition to our regular customers to the shop.
I also stock a variety of music related artwork, showcasing seminal bands and albums. This adds to the atmosphere and surroundings of Loafers and helps connect everyone’s love of music. We’ve built up a great customer base and there are people I see for coffee and records every week. These people have become good friends and when we host vinyl evenings, poetry, live music and coffee tasting, the space is always filled with my regulars who have become now part of the Loafers community.
It’s amazing that we’ve grown so quickly as a business and acquired such a brilliant and loyal customer base. I have loads of favourite customers but George Stubbs will always be the most memorable. He was an 83-year-old man with no family as his wife had passed several years ago. George came into Loafers every Tuesday for coffee. We would play Simon & Garfunkel for him on the turntable. He became such a good friend we invited him for Christmas dinner with all our family last year. He was famous within the Piece Hall and is the coolest old man around! He sadly passed away in February but in his memory, we raised money for Age UK by selling mugs with his image on. So far, we’ve raised £700.
The first record I sold was Homework by Daft Punk and the last was Simple Things by Zero 7, I love that album. The most memorable was probably Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. A lady queued for the album for 20 minutes on opening day. I recalled the story to Lloyd Webber himself when he visited the shop last October. He was really amused he still had the selling power!
My first visit to a record shop was Jumbo in Leeds as a kid where I bought Monster by REM. I loved that the place was just stacked with records and full of people with diverse musical taste. Flicking through my dad’s records as a child also formed my love of vinyl. Initially it was the artwork of The Eagles, ELO and Fleetwood Mac but once the needle hit the record that was it. I was totally fascinated with the sound, the crackles and the experience!
I love Muse Music in Hebden Bridge, which is just down the road from Halifax and Trump Records in NYC is amazing. I had a great afternoon there back in 2004. I was literally snowed in as it was minus 30 degrees outside so kept warm in the record shop.
As above and of course, opening my own and watching the last year unfold as a huge success with one of my favourite bands, Merrymaker, playing live in the shop on our 1st birthday celebration.
Ocean Colour Scene in Madrid 2016.
Manhunter by Thomas Harris
The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars
Rubber Soul – Beatles
Moon Safari – Air
Be Here Now – Oasis
Marchin Already – Ocean Colour Scene
Mirror Conspiracy – Thievery Corporation
Stanley Road – Paul Weller
Cold Fact - Rodriguez
The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Rodriguez, Oasis, Daft Punk, Faithless and Pink Floyd
Moseley Shoals – Ocean Colour Scene