Grooves builds upon downtown’s musical history
Troy Hutchison was in position some 14 years ago to continue one of London’s more enduring business traditions — the downtown record store — and despite the move to the digital age, he hasn’t looked back.
Back in 2004, Troy and his friend Dave Clarke launched Grooves — or Grooves Records as some prefer to call it — down on Clarence Street. The shop would remain on Clarence for about a dozen years while Dave retired from the business some six years ago.
When Grooves first opened, CDs were the dominant medium for music.
But despite the shop being “a bit of an oddball”, Troy explains the store’s mission was always clear.
“We wanted to focus on vinyl. The music we loved was more of the underground music, whatever that might be, the off-the-beaten-path kind of tunes, so that has always been our focus,” Troy said. “We always wanted to have a cool record shop that appealed to as many people as possible. I think we cover all the bases pretty darn well.”
A few years ago, Grooves moved to 236 Dundas St. The move, Troy said, has allowed the store to find its place among “really awesome neighbours” while becoming part of a community he describes as being particularly inviting.
“I love the downtown. Downtown has always had a record store. It’s a storied tradition and I feel like I’m the next part of a long story.”
“I feel like I’m taking the torch from Mr. Sound or Dr. Disc or the other legendary record stores that have been downtown over the years,” said Troy.
Although some people may question the wisdom in running a record store at a time where digital downloads are the norm, Troy said there is no question “vinyl is back.”
“The real collectors, the music nuts, our people, they have to have a collection, something they can look at and touch and feel. The iTunes catalogue can’t do that,” he said. “If you’re a music nerd like me, it’s a good place to come. It’s part of the fun for us as staff too, we have to get work done so we have to strike a balance, but we love chatting with folks about their favourite tunes.”
As one might expect from an independent business owner with a small staff, Troy works a lot of hours in a week.
While he admits it’s “a balancing act” between family time and work responsibilities, he said there is no question he needs to find time away from the shop — no matter how much he loves being there.
“I love spending time with my kids. I have two, one is grown now; my littlest is seven. We go for walks in the woods, he likes to play video games, when the weather is nice we go play soccer or Frisbee in the school yard,” he said. “I watch TV shows with my wife like a normal couple. I listen to tunes all day at work so I don’t feel the pressure to listen to music all night. But, it’s a pretty normal evening to spin a record while we’re doing the dishes too.”