For any music fan of a certain age, the closure of any independent record shop is a sad occasion, though each of those music fans will have certain shops they feel especially sad about if and when closure beckons, and having lived in Edinburgh for four years in the 1990s, for me that includes Avalanche.
The owner of the Edinburgh record store has published a blog post outlining the ongoing challenges he faces, which are very similar to those faced by indie record shops across the UK as sales of physical music products slump, and supermarkets and price-cutting mail-order sites (until recently benefiting from an offshore tax break) take an increasingly large slice of the sales of lucrative mainstream releases. The growth of direct-to-fan selling online by more alternative acts is also starting to have an impact.
Although no final decision has been made, the post says that a deadline has been set of 6 Jan next year, and if a solution to current financial challenges cannot be found by that date, then closure of the physical Avalanche shop is likely, though hopefully an online operation would continue.
The post says: “I have to draw a line in the sand somewhere and that date is Sunday 6 Jan 2013. I hope that by then there will be a plan, but at worst I will simply close the shop and concentrate on expanding our online presence and pursuing other opportunities. I’ll always be [particularly] keen to support Scottish artists, but maybe the focus on how that is done will need to change. I’m happy to listen to all ideas of course. Avalanche is a fantastic shop window quite literally for Scottish artists and their music but sadly it is often taken for granted”.
It adds: “Up to that date I will need to take as much money as possible to catch up on just about everything (rent, rates, tax, record company bills etc) and therefore will have the sale I vowed I wouldn’t have. We are not short of stock, and hopefully a sale when added to some Christmas business and the visitors here for the festive period will enable us to catch up. With the announcement that the new Frightened Rabbit album will be released on 4 Feb in an ideal world a new revitalised Avalanche would be in place by then, but as our good friends in One Up in Aberdeen have said, unless there is a noticeable and prolonged improvement in business we simply can’t survive where we are”.
Having been in business for 27 years, Avalanche moved to new premises in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket two years ago.