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Electric Palace Records opens in Tenterden

A new record shop - potentially the smallest in Kent - opened its doors this week and its owner hopes to make a big noise.

Henry Tragett’s Electric Palace Records flung open its doors for business on Monday, after four months in the making.

The 145 ft sq shop space in the Fairings off Oaks Road, also doubling as a coffee shop, will stock a rich mix of 1960s-90s vinyl, jazz, CDs, cassettes, and nearby event tickets.

Henry Tragett of Electric Palace Records, Tenterden (6069167)
Henry Tragett of Electric Palace Records, Tenterden (6069167)

The 57-year-old, who also works as a financial advisor, said the family-run project has been set up as a family project.

Speaking from the store on Monday he said: “I was working full-time as a financial advisor and part time in my father-in-law’s Grammar School Records in Rye, when it became obvious vinyl sales were on the up.

“I have no idea why cassette tapes are on the up but with vinyl it’s something tangible, and the art work means a lot to some people.

“It is a very small space, if you stand in the middle of the shop and stretch your arms you are almost touching the walls.

“We’re looking to stock 1,500-2,000 records, the space means we’re quite limited in what we can store here.”

For more than a decade vinyl sales have soared and continues to gain momentum.

Henry with son James Tragett (6170913)
Henry with son James Tragett (6170913)

Early this year it accounted for one in every 10 physical music sales according to the annual British Phonographic Industry's annual report - a 27 per cent year on year increase.

It pushes vinyl sales to a level not seen since the days of Nirvana's Nevermind in the early Nineties.

And as record sales increase start-ups are popping up in increasingly smaller spaces, and not without challenges.

Mr Tragett continued: “We don’t have room for record players and headphones for people to listen to records on, but we’ll play them out loud in the shop.

“We don’t have enough room to store classical because of the shop’s size, but we can get it from our sister record shop Grammar School Records.”

The old Electric Palace - courtesy Jack Gillett (6171051)
The old Electric Palace - courtesy Jack Gillett (6171051)

The grandfather added the venture, which replaces Steinwoods sandwich shop, will help give industry experience to son James and step-sons Oliver Spalding and Bevan Stead.

It is situated inside the projection room of the old 1912 Electric Palace Cinema, a building rich with history.

In 1937 the 350 seat cinema, once regarded as one of the most modern in Kent, closed with the arrival of the Embassy Cinema in High Street.

It served as an Army Supply Deport before being turned into shops and offices in the 1950s.

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