It’s a sad day for vinyl enthusiasts on Yonge Street as the renowned record store Play De Record announced its departure from their current location on Monday.
After more than 20 years in the business, Play De Record will relocate from Yonge Street to the eclectic neighbourhood of Kensington Market.
Although the move is an exciting venture for the business, it is a loss for the Ryerson community. Play De Record is the last original vinyl store on Yonge Street.
Eric Zaworski is a music journalist who has written for Pitchfork and Exclaim. He has frequented the record store since he was a teenager and said he always found the store “relieving” and “a great escape.” But Zaworski said the move will be rewarding for the business.
“I think Chinatown has a real presence among those off-the-beaten-path shops like A&C Games (and) Sonic Boom now,” he said. “But I’m happy to see Play De Record still maintain a retail presence.”
Daniel Melfi is a third-year journalism student at Ryerson who also regularly shopped at Play De Record. He often purchased house and electronic music from Play De Record, and said he found it a different space from the average record store.
“It’s a store for people who know their music, everyone is welcome, but I think it flourished for a community of intelligent music lovers,” said Melfi.
Although some business owners may see this as risky move, Play De Record owner Eugene Tam is not nervous at all. He said that when the opportunity came, he had to act on it quickly or he’d risk losing the space. Tam planned the move within a few weeks.
“I’m not that worried. We have a strong brand and some people were even saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’re (still) coming over,’” said Tam.
Sam the Record Man, which closed its Yonge Street location in 2007 to make room for Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre, will have its iconic sign moved atop a building behind Yonge-Dundas Square. The plan is funded by Ryerson University. Fellow record shop Rotate This announced in early January it will relocate from Queen Street West to Dundas and Ossington streets later this month.
Yonge Street is not the most budget-friendly location for independent music businesses.
“It’s always busy here, but when your (rent) is so high, it’s hard to keep up,” said Tam. “Plus there’s more record stores in that area and with Kensington Market getting more artsy, we thought it would be better to move there.”
Play De Record is planning to open its new store at the beginning of March.