Stoke Newington record store Lucky Seven set to close
- Credit: Archant
The most distinctive shop in Stoke Newington Church Street has become the latest to face closure over soaring rents.
Record store Lucky Seven sticks out like a sore thumb among the coffee shops and restaurants in the trendy shopping street.
It has a bright red, yellow and blue shop front and once that’s drawn you in there’s a ramshackle charm that could keep you crate-digging for hours.
But like many of his neighbours owner Jason Gore is struggling to survive and, with a heavy heart, he put the shop up for sale late this year, ahead of another expected rent hike.
“The rent went up by a third in 2009 and if it goes up again there’s only one way it’s going to go,” he said. “I’ve given it until August and then I’m thinking of calling it quits anyway.”
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Jason has seen more shops close than open in his seven years in Church Street, and questions whether any more coffee shops or restaurants are needed.
“The road is inundated with them,” he said. “There’s been a gradual decline in other shops, particularly in this stretch.”
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Jason is referring to the row of empty units opposite Lucky Seven, while on the other side of Lordship Road The Lion N16 pub is also set to change hands this month.
The cafe next door to Lucky Seven also closed this year and has been taken over by world famous Naples pizzeria L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele. But even they have fallen silent in the last few months, and Jason believes they are behind schedule.
“That shop over the road has had five different owners in the last five years all trying to run it as cafes,” he said. “There’s hardly any retail experience left on the road now, it’s all so boring.
“The way my shop looks fits in with the beauty of collecting records,” he added. “That’s what I prefer to see in a shop, bright colours. Not a grey, anonymous-looking coffee shop.”
The other issue is the “vinyl revival”, which has resulted in suppliers charging more. Jason, who stocks a huge range of genre-spanning records, says he doesn’t want to stock new releases, so he’s not got much chance.
“The demand is there but I can’t get hold of it as easy as I used to,” he said. “Prices have doubled in the last four years because of the increase in interest. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword for me.”
A couple of people have shown interest in buying the shop and keeping it as a record store, but interest is all it has been.
“I really hope it stays as a record shop,” continued Jason, who started out with a stall at Spitalfields Market in 2001, when everyone was getting rid of their vinyl.
“If someone came in with fresh eyes and a bit of capital they could really take it forward. I’d hope they don’t paint it grey.”