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Community / Bop Shop team looking to the future after buying building

The Bop Shop on Harbour Street. Photo: Shetland News

THE TEAM behind local non-profit record shop and community arts hub The Bop Shop are looking to the future after becoming the owners of the Lerwick building.

Since the Bop Shop on Harbour Street launched in its current form around two years ago, over 2,000 sales have been made – mainly second-hand vinyl – despite only opening its doors once a month.

But the committee behind the enterprise – Lyall Halcrow, Jamie Hatch and Thomas Jones – are now planning for the years ahead as owners of the building rather than leasers.

“Owning the place means we can now plan for the years ahead, and not just month-by-month,” Hatch said.

Some of the local music available in the Bop Shop.

“We have a lot of ideas about what we want to do, from improvements needed to be made inside the shop itself to how we can help elevate the local music scene.

“That’s one of the main reasons we took this on to begin with so we’re looking forward very much to plans we have in that regard. We really want the shop to be at a place where it can be viewed as a top destination for all things art related in Shetland.”

The shop opens on the first Saturday of each month – including this one coming for Christmas shoppers – and money received from sales of the music, computer games, local music merchandise and art goes back into the project.

It sought to fill a void left by the closure of Clive’s Record Shop in 2011, offering a chance to thumb through largely pre-owned music, while at the same time tapping into the revival in vinyl.

Halcrow, however, said that owning the building should open up new opportunities for funding.

“I’ve really enjoyed speaking to regulars about music new and old,” he added, reflecting on the last two years. “So many great stories shared about gigs, holy grails in people’s collections and record digging experiences.”

The building – which many may remember as the Rod and Line fishing shop – was formerly used by the now-dormant jazz club.

The shop has also hosts occasional live performances, video game tournaments and movie screenings, while it also provides a space for rehearsal and writing, with award-winning Scottish folk group Lau for example previously using the space to pen new material.

“Every time the shop is open is great, but some of my favourite highlights have been when the space has been used in a different or unusual way,” Jones says, “such as Letty Bishop’s excellent fashion exhibition to the recent screening of Sound It Out as part of Shetland Arts’ Screenplay festival.”