Banquet Records has pledged its generosity to help other independent businesses struggling in the face of uncertain times.
The popular Kingston record shop focuses mainly on selling quality indie, punk, and dubstep music, sold on vinyl and CD but also has its own label and runs gigs and club nights.
The twenty-five strong team officially closed their doors to the public on March 16, to prepare for life in quarantine, but also to focus on their growing online profile, which has allowed them to continue trading during the pandemic.
Jon Tolley, 42, managing director of Banquet Records and Kingston resident, said: “As friends and retailers in Kingston town centre, we want them to also be in this position, so it’s a good excuse to talk about independents and also be actively supporting them.
“Banquet Records is probably in a better financial position than some. I don’t think we’ve got any risk of going bust, but some might not be in that position.”
The award-winning SME high-street retailer, which first opened its doors to the public in 2005, is currently operating two on-site members of staff while the rest are currently working from home.
They are all pulling together on ‘round the clock’ shifts to ensure that there never is more than one person in a single room, at once, in compliance with the government’s social distancing policies.
Mr Tolley, who is also a councillor for Grove Ward, continued: “I want to use our position and platform to communicate this message about closing and about why social-distancing is important.”
He added: “I think it’s important to say: “Here’s the reason why we’re doing this, because this is going to save lives.”
The company also believes that the initiative could help spread awareness of other independent businesses in the area as well as increasing their profiles.
Mr Tolley said: “We’re getting a few of our customers now, who maybe didn’t know The Grey Horse, maybe didn’t know about Jacks Of London, and maybe even didn’t know about The Albion.
“We’re trying to do this to keep it in people’s minds and talk about the services that other retailers are offering, not just us.”
Local people and customers have already taken to the idea, with many showering them with praise on their Twitter and social media accounts to thank the record shop for their forward thinking.
Mr Tolley said: “If you care about a certain independent, then you should give vouchers to them because that would make a big difference.”