Former staff bring iconic Spinadisc name back into business with online record shop

Spinadisc was a name synonymous with Northampton record buyers during the 1990s and now two staff who worked there are selling records again.

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 3:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 4:41 pm
Simon Starkey and Mark Thorneycroft with some of the records Spinadisc is stocking online.
Simon Starkey and Mark Thorneycroft with some of the records Spinadisc is stocking online.

Two friends who worked in one of Northampton’s most iconic independent record shops have revived the brand 15 years after the store closed its doors.

For more than three decades, Spinadisc was one of the ‘go to’ shops in Northampton for anyone after music not stocked by the mainstream orientated high street chains.

Earlier this year, former employees Mark Thorneycroft and Simon Starkey launched Spinadisc online – with the simple plan of selling records to music lovers.

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Spinadisc in Abington Street, Northampton.

Mr Starkey said: “I’ve always enjoyed the very basic thing of selling someone a record and talking to them about music. It's what we've both always done.

“Our expectations aren't to make load of money.

“They are to get a lot of cool records, to meet a lot of cool people and maybe make a few quid in the future.

“We’re doing this because there's nothing quite like selling music to people – even online.”

Originally opening in the 1973 and run by the Raybould family, at its peak Spinadisc had branches in Northampton, Rugby and Coventry and attracted record buyers from across the region.

Its Abington Street branch closed in 2005.

The pair met working at the former Our Price record store in Abington Street before both going onto work at Spinadisc.

Mr Thorneycroft worked at Spinadisc for about seven years from 1993, with Mr Starkey there for about six months during the 1990s.

Mr Starkey said: “I think I did the summer and a Christmas there and I was stacking shelves.

“Our friendship has been based around working there, going to gigs together and enjoying a beer together over the last 30-odd years.”

Mr Thorneycroft, who during the late 1980s worked at St Martins Records shop in Wellingborough, before moving to work in Northampton, added: “We had a manager on each floor and I was a manager downstairs.

“I was there for about six years and was essentially deciding what the shop would carry.

“Spinadisc was the first place where you'd be able to find indie like Fugazi or Red Hot Chili Peppers albums on import which weren’t easily available here.

“When I was doing the buying, the key was non-competitor products.

“Yeah, we could sell Coldplay CDs, Oasis CDs, but it was more about being able to get the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal magazine which you’d maybe have to go to Tower Records in Birmingham to find.”

That ethos of stocking the ‘non-competitor’ records you won’t now-a-days find on supermarket shelves has been brought over to their online business which will be stocking a range of different genres and rarer versions of releases.

Before deciding to go into business using the Spinadisc name, the pair made numerous attempts to contact different members of the Raybould family to discuss their plans but were unsuccessful.

Explaining their decision to return to the music business, Mr Starkey said: “We'd been talking about possibly promoting gigs, having a bit of a think about how it might work, and after speaking to a few people we realised there were a lot of obstacles, it was going to take a lot of time and is obviously quite risky. We thought, ‘why don't we sell records’.

“We decided to go ahead with something in early October and then started planning it and the website went live at the end of January.

“We have had to deal with everything lockdown and the coronavirus has brought, but we have spent this year launching and steadily promoting and growing the business.”

For anyone living in the Northampton area, one of their perks the pair are offering is free delivery on their orders.

Mr Thorneycroft said: “Being local and delivering locally are two important things to us.

“It’s about connecting with people and trying to create something special.

“We can end up being cheaper than the likes of Amazon on some really interesting music and yes, we do it because it’s a commodity, but we do it with love and that’s what Spinadisc was always about.”

As well as selling stocking many limited-edition variants of new releases, the pair also plan on working with promoters and local musicians to champion new music across Northamptonshire.

The new single by Northampton’s Baby Lung, which is available on 7” vinyl from August 22 on the label Eight Limb Entertainment is among the first of these.

Spinadisc is also stocking and promoting The Hurricanes’ new album Look Out It’s The Hurricanes, which is out on the label Spinout Nuggets.

For more information, visit https://www.spinadisc.co.uk