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FOCUS: "More magic, more tunes!"

FOCUS:

Wednesday 06 December 2023

FOCUS: "More magic, more tunes!"

Wednesday 06 December 2023


The owner of a popular record shop in the market has retired after three decades in business, handing over the mic to a former customer stepping off the "corporate treadmill" who is keen to expand its offerings while preserving its legacy...

The journey of Seedee Jons all started in 1993, with a modest investment of £5,000 and a shop at Colomberie… 30 years on, and the brand has become a veritable mecca for local record enthusiasts.

But this month its owner, John Holley, has retired and handed over the mic to one of his most enthusiastic customers who is himself stepping off the “corporate treadmill” to follow his love of music.

"I have big shoes to fill"

"I have big shoes to fill," Darren Vibert said, vowing to maintain the “iconic” brand's legacy of “great products and amazing customer service”, promising "more magic, more tunes".

Something that stood out for Darren is how “the Seedee Jons brand has stood the test of time, enduring challenges such as recessions, the covid pandemic, and fluctuating living costs.”

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Pictured: The new owner Darren Vibert (left) alongside John Holley (right). 

John started mostly with CDs in Colomberie – when designing the branding, he decided that ‘Seedee’ looked better than ‘CD’ and ‘Jon’ simply looked better without the H that John has in his name.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Through the years, the store transformed, making its mark at the Powerhouse on Queen's Road, where John pioneered the sale of iPods on the island. 

 In 2014, the store shifted to Halkett Place, seizing the opportunity created by the closure of major competitors – HMV, Blockbuster, and British Home Stores.

He also began selling games, winning an industry 'BAFTA' along the way, though this wasn’t his passion – and eventually in 2020 responded to the vinyl revival with a records-only store in the Central Market, while leaving his former premises in the capable hands of his former store manager to cater for gamers as ‘Chaos’.

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Pictured: The new owner plans to sell second-hand vinyl, as well as graphic novels, comic books, and branded clothing.

It was a shrewd move – despite the popularity of streaming services like Spotify, 2022 saw records enjoy their largest volume of sales since 1990, with 5.5m estimated to have flown off the shelves. 

"On Saturday, the shop is full of 'Swifties'!"

One of the biggest surprises for John was the number of young customers he has picked up.

“My best-selling artist in the shop, by far is Taylor Swift, and I never would have believed that!

“On Saturday, the shop is full of ‘Swifties’ – girls and boys who are a fan of hers,” he laughed. 

According to Darren, “John has an amazing knack for looking into the future and picking the right products that customers want” – something he hopes to continue while staying in tune with evolving customer preferences. 

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Pictured: John guided the store through various transformations and relocations from vinyl and cassettes to CDs across 30 years of musical trends. 

Darren’s plans include selling used vinyl, as well as graphic novels, comic books, and branded clothing.

"It's that smell, the crackles..."

"Once you get the bug for collecting records, it's not just about buying new titles. It's about seeking out the old vintage stuff.

"There is nothing better than hunting down originals from the ‘60s or ‘70s. It's that smell, the crackles, and all those imperfections that are all part of its character of old vinyl."

When asked whether the store would become SeeDee Darren, the new owner exclaimed: "It's an established brand – I'd be silly not to keep the same name!" 

READ MORE...

This is a snippet of a feature in the December 2023/January 2024 edition of Connect Magazine, which you can pick up around the island or read in full below...

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