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Arts / ‘New chapter’ for Bop Shop after refurbishment and move to charity status

The Bop Shop in Lerwick.

A CREATIVE hub in Lerwick which hosts a pop-up record shop once a month is looking ahead to new beginnings after undergoing an extensive refurbishment.

The Bop Shop secured funding from the National Lottery to modernise its base on Harbour Street, with new flooring and heating among the upgrades.

People will get a chance to check out the facelift when the doors open on Saturday (1 May) for the latest pop-up record shop.

The Bop Shop opened in 2017 after local trio Lyall Halcrow, Jamie Hatch and Thomas Jones took on the premises from the local jazz club.

On the first Saturday of each month it opens its doors to the public to host a record shop, but it has also provided space for live performances, film screenings and even a fashion exhibition.

From left to right: Thomas Jones, Lyall Halcrow and Jamie Hatch.

The Bop Shop is also now a registered charity, although the pop-up record shop will continue to run separately as a non-profit venture.

The charity will continue to act as a hub to support Shetland’s creatives through gigs, live-streams, music production and promotion, rehearsal space and more.

Hatch said the room, which was formerly a fishing tackle shop, has been “completely rebuilt”.

“Not much work has been done to the place since the days of Rod and Tackle so we set out to modernise it, make it look a bit more inviting but most importantly free up some space which will allow local musicians, artists and bigger groups to make use of the room,” he said.

Hatch added that Saturday and the reopening feels like a “new chapter” in the Bop Shop story.

“What we are really excited about is that we recently registered as a charity, which is unrelated to the Pop Up Record Shop.

“All three of us have been quite involved in the local music scene for a number of years now and we would all like to collectively use our experience to promote the local music and arts scene as best as we can.

“The charity will allow us to put more emphasis on this and we really intend to take it up a notch when restrictions are removed.

“Much of our focus during the pandemic has been the refurbishment and other things, so we are really excited to put back on our creative hats.”

Halcrow said by selling records on websites eBay and Discogs, the monthly record shop has been able to continue its business over the pandemic despite being physically shut since November.

“When we first opened the Pop Up Record Shop, we did it in a time where vinyl records were making a big comeback,” he said.

“Over the pandemic, it has properly boomed and it seems that everyone has been hard at work levelling up their record collections – this has kept us going and the online shop has allowed us to export records as far afield as America, China and Japan.

“But nothing can replace the excitement of the Pop Up Record Shop days. We can’t wait to open the doors again on Saturday and see some of our much missed regulars and hopefully see a few new faces too.”

The trio also started a Live At The Bop Shop virtual gig series during the pandemic, and there are hopes to restart this soon.

“This allowed people online to watch high quality sets of local artists, however this was unfortunately cut short due to the new restrictions at Christmas time,” Hatch said.

“We intend to pick this back up as soon as possible and have a great line-up of bands and musicians lined up.”