A vinyl exchange: U of S alumnus purchases Saskatoon’s seminal record store

By in News

This month, one University of Saskatchewan alumnus became the new proprietor of Saskatoon’s distinguished downtown record shop, the Vinyl Exchange, just two years after convoking from Edwards School of Business.

For 25 years, the Vinyl Exchange has been a staple shop for purchasing records, CDs and music memorabilia in Saskatoon. On Sept. 15, Adam Harrison, a Vinyl Exchange employee since 2016, bought the business from the store’s founding owner, Mike Spindloe.

Harrison says that he has been a loyal customer to the Vinyl Exchange since moving to Saskatoon from Moosomin in 2011. Unsure of what he wanted to do after convoking with a Bachelor’s of Commerce in 2016, Harrison applied for a job at the Vinyl Exchange.

When Spindloe decided that he wanted to sell the store in 2017, Harrison was presented with an opportunity he could not pass up. For Harrison, the decision to buy the Vinyl Exchange was a natural progression.

Adam Harrison sifts through a rack of records at the Vinyl Exchange in Saskatoon, posed.

“It was an opportunity — I’m always the type of person to take life as it comes,” Harrison said. “It was too good of an offer to pass up. I know how [the store] works.”

Although Harrison’s acquisition of the Vinyl Exchange is the first change of ownership since the store’s opening in 1993, he hopes that customers don’t feel any differences under his lead.

“Honestly, I don’t want people to notice that it’s changed at all,” Harrison said. “It’s been open for 25 years, and if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? I’m sure, as things come along, I’ll make changes as I see fit.”

For some sceptics, buying a record store in 2018 — when music streaming is so popular — may seem like a precarious venture. Harrison, however, believes that record stores and music streaming services can have a mutually beneficial relationship.

“I think the two go hand in hand. With things like Spotify and Apple Music, it’s just a click away to have access to all of that artist’s music and albums,” Harrison said. “If you become familiar with something, that might inspire you to own the album physically. Honestly, I think streaming platforms have helped out with vinyl interest and people wanting to make a collection.”

For Harrison, the local vinyl industry and the continuing interest in the Vinyl Exchange is indicative that record stores will continue to stay open in Saskatoon.

“I’ve noticed lots of teenage kids and kids in their early 20s are buying vinyl now, and as long as those people continue buying vinyl as they get older — and I keep those customers — we should be okay,” Harrison said. “It’s steady with customers in here.”

While Harrison’s new role as owner of the Vinyl Exchange may be inspiring to any prospective business owners and U of S students, as an alumnus, he is hesitant to dole out advice as he acknowledges how serendipitous his situation has been.

“I wouldn’t take my advice,” Harrison said. “I would definitely be a little more proactive than I was — everything just seemed to work out for me. I would say, find something you’re really passionate about and go after it.”