In collaboration with Kaneshii Vinyl Press
Who are you and your current job :
I am Cavin Borody, owner of The Winnipeg Record & Tape Co. I run a record store in the West End of Winnipeg, Canada. My road to owning this shop started a long time ago. I used to play “Record Store” when I was a child where I would turn my bedroom into a record shop, spending hours trying to find the best way to display “the merchandise”. Weekends would be spent hanging around the many record stores that lined the main street in my city back in the day. Fast forward 30 years, I decided to start selling the extras from my own collection of primarily Motown and Northern Soul Records. That turned into a small e-store and after ten years of selling exclusively online, the ever-growing need for more storage space led to the opening of my retail location 5 years ago. The name was picked for both online search optimization (search Record Store in Winnipeg and you get it) but also as a sense of pride in where I come from and the long legacy of great music stores this city has seen over the years.
In which city are you located?
What musical styles do you specialize in?
While we stock most genres, our definite focus is jazz, funk, soul & disco (with film music in the mix as well). Growing up I was completely in love with soul/R&B and later on with disco and funk. That’s the stuff I connect with and know the best so I try to carry a good selection of those genres – it’s easy to recommend things you love. That’s usually what you’ll hear when you come into the shop. Of course, we also carry the pop and rock classics as that’s what often brings people through the door. Once they’re here we like to offer up some interesting choices so that they may leave with something unexpected. We also have a good selection of cassette and 8 track tapes in most genres. We have separate sections for Canadian music and children’s records as well.
Can you give a small tour of the music scene in your town?
While it’s been a “few” years since I’ve been an active participant, Winnipeg has a thriving music scene with many small venues providing both new and established acts a platform to have their music heard. Several old movie theatres have been refurbished and converted into live performance houses. This brings a lot of acts through town as well as several top-drawer music festivals and events. (Winnipeg Jazz Fest, Bird’s Hill Folk Festival to name a few)
What’s it like working in a record shop?
It’s brilliant. And when it’s your own shop, well there’s nothing better. A chance to help people connect with great music that they want and some they don’t even know they want “yet”. I love bringing things into the shop that are not currently either popular or common – when someone takes notice and connects with it I’m like a proud parent. I love when that happens. And listening to great music ALL day as well, euphoria! Being my own boss also allows me to slack off occasionally which is a bonus. It’s just really great to have people pop by to flip through the bins or to even say hello and have a chat about really anything – just knowing you’ve created a place that people like to come to. That feeling is what drew me to record stores in the first place right back at the beginning of this story.
What mind-blowing album are you listing right now?
My current favorite is “Don’t Go To Strangers” by a lesser known jazz singer Etta Jones. Man, that woman can SANG!!! The title track is a killer. Fantastic. Every time I even mention it I have to put it on.
What does it take for an indie record shop to survive?
A lot of goodwill and really connecting with your customers. Competition is fierce especially with chains moving in and independent dealers popping up everywhere online – so you really need to find your audience, find out what they love and do your best to create the kind of place they really look forward coming to. Find things that will excite your visitors. Our location is a bit off the beaten track in an industrial sector but we kind of like that about it. Coffee helps too. You really have to put in the hours and do the work even on days when you’d rather hit the couch. Did I mention coffee?.
Record Store day is both wonderful and overwhelming. It’s always a crapshoot knowing what to bring in, what to pass on and really what to expect at all. It’s great to see the new faces drawn to this event but even better to see loyal familiar faces standing in line waiting for “their shop” to open. And of course, I can’t forget to mention the annual handmade tiny chocolate records we stay up all night making (ok, half the night) – this year’s selection is bitter citrus dark chocolate.
Tips for musicians launching an album?
I’ve never been part of a launch but I’d guess you really need to find a unique way to market your music, play every gig you can land and visit your local record stores. (insert shameless plug) You’ll find most will happily do what they can to support you. And be nice to people when you’re promoting yourself. Ego is very 1990’s.
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Winnipeg [Manitoba] city guide x Cavin Borody
Café | Myer’s Delicatessen
Restaurant | The Marion Eatery
amazing coffee and fantastic comfort food. Mac N Cheese anyone? | 393 Marion St
Shopping | The Forks Market
Grocery | Young’s Supermarket
Other | Bridge Drive-In