The tables were turning on a quiet street in Purley when Lisa Docherty, 49, opened vinyl-centric Ten Pin Records last month. Stacked with everything from hip hop to classical and rock to country, the shop has attracted a wide audience of record enthusiasts.
Docherty runs Ten Pin Records with her childhood friend, Debbie Welch, 49. “This isn’t our first rodeo,” said Welch, who lives in Wallington. The two ran an online vinyl selling business for 15-years before opening Ten Pin Records, naming it after a bowling alley that used to be around the corner.
“What’s been most surprising is the amount of young people coming in and actually buying records,” said Welch. It is particularly nostalgic for the friends as they have known each other for 40-years and grew up going to gigs and seeing their friends perform together.
Both women have eclectic tastes. If they created a combined playlist you would find Black Sabbath, Janis Joplin, Yo-Yo Ma and Bill Evans. “You’d think it was from a mad person,” said Welch. Her favourite tune is Phil Collins’ ‘Easy Lover’. “I don’t know why, but it’s a song that makes me happy,” she said. Docherty can put on Primal Scream’s Screamadelica album at any time of day. Despite their passion for records, Welch noted that Spotify is a useful tool for suggesting music and said that it helps young people discover artists before coming in to buy an album. They have enjoyed hearing people give recommendations to each other in the store and share technical advice.
As a woman-owned shop, Docherty believes “there’s been a few occasions when I’ve felt I’ve had to prove I do know what I’m talking about, that it’s not just a folly. I feel pretty confident we’ve had a lot of women in. I feel like if it had been men [working] there they might not have been so keen.”
Opening a shop was not in Docherty’s plan. She stumbled upon the shop space for rent when she was looking for warehouse space to store the vinyls she sold online. “I got overrun. There were records all over my house, in garages, in neighbours’ garages. My neighbours were so lovely, looking after records for me,” she said.
Docherty, who lives in Purley, drove past what is now Ten Pin Records with her husband and saw its potential. She enlisted the help of her uncle to build the shop’s bright and minimalist interior and they sourced all of the wood from Solo Wood Recycling, a reclaimed wood yard in Croydon.
One of the reasons Docherty opened Ten Pin Records was to allow people to peruse the collection in person, instead of keeping the albums boxed up. Music has always been a big part of her life and “there aren’t many record shops to browse in anymore,” said Docherty.
The shop is a family affair; Docherty’s husband, aunt and three children all help. “I didn’t know anything about owning a shop. It’s a massive, stressful learning curve but it’s been really nice,” she said.
When Docherty is buying records quality is of the utmost importance. “The things that I love are a beautiful jazz collection. That is the ultimate, when someone has kept an original immaculately,” said Docherty. Dance music has been a big seller at the shop and requests for Kate Bush have increased since ‘Running Up That Hill’ featured in Stranger Things. The two women note there are teenagers browsing records alongside pensioners from a local retirement home. “It’s so lovely seeing young people,” said Docherty.
Vinyl sales have experienced continued growth over the past few years, with sales last year reaching their highest level in over three decades according to figures from the British Phonographic Industry. When asked what the greatest challenge she has faced since opening the shop is, Docherty said: “What I have found most difficult is I can’t get stuff out fast enough. Stuff is getting sold and sold and I’m not replacing it, which is a nice problem to have.”
Ten Pin Records, 4 The Parade, Old Lodge Ln, Purley CR8 4DG, UK