With HMV selling off stock and closing up shop, Sunrise Records is preparing to take over about 70 HMV leases
What do we know about Sunrise Records.
From their website we know they are a Canadian owned company with a head office in Ancaster (Hamilton) Ontario, and have been around since 1977. The first Sunrise store opened a 237 Yonge Street where it competed with the flagship stores for A&A records and the legendary Sam the Record Man. The chain was purchased by now President Doug Putnam in 2014.
They currently have eight stores all located in Ontario. Two in Barrie (about a half hour north of Toronto), Etobicoke which is in the southwest of Toronto, Burlington west of Toronto, Branford and London both in southwestern Ontario, North Bay at the northern end of Georgian Bay and Ottawa in eastern Ontario.
With the take over of HMV leases, Sunrise will have a Canada-wide presence. As of March 9, twenty-nine locations have been confirmed from BC to New Brunswick with at least one location in each province. Sunrise will be announcing new locations on an on-going basis through their Facebook page (Sunrise on Facebook).
Prior to going into receivership like, HMV had approximately 100 stores across Canada, but according to Putnam they were unable to come to agreement on thirty of the existing HMV leases.
Nevertheless, this is a huge expansion for Sunrise. When asked whether Sunrise had planned on expansion, Putnam stated that “we had always listed expansion as a priority, so we were always looking for opportunities. We were not necessarily thinking of expansion on this scale. Maybe adding a few stores here and there every year, but definitely had expansion in mind.”
He further confirmed that this is an agreement to take over leases, but no HMV stock is included in the agreement. That said, Sunrise is committed to bringing over as many HMV employees as possible. Sunrise is connecting with current HMV employees through their Facebook page. I was impressed with commitment shown by Sunrise to support HMV employees.
As for vinyl, according the Putnam, “Vinyl is going to be a critical part of our success. An average store is going to have over 3,000 titles available in store. We plan to put a lot of focus on vinyl.”
Great news for the vinyl community.
Sunrise is also committed to Record Store Day. “Nothing specific yet, but we brought Record Store Day to Canada. We are a big supporter of it. We think it is fantastic for the whole community, so we are definitely going to keep supporting it in a big way.”
Local and independent musicians should be happy about the expansion of Sunrise Records. When questioned as to whether Sunrise would be looking to support local bands and musicians who may not be signed to record labels, Putnam was definitive about their support. “One hundred percent. We definitely love to support independent musicians. They can get in touch with any of our store managers or contact head office if they want to go chain-wide. We certainly have a great interest in adding new and undiscovered acts to our stores.” This includes expanding Sunrise’s Artist of the Month program to be a “Canada-side thing. There’s great local artists that we want to give exposure in the rest of Canada.”
On a personal level, Putnam is a vinyl collector. “I’m a bit of a late adopter. I started when I took over Sunrise but once you get the vinyl bug, there’s no way you can get rid of it.” He also talked about he person love for music as one of the reasons for acquiring Sunrise.
“I’ve always been interested in music and it was a good time to get into this [record store] business. It’s always great to get into a business that you’re passionate about. that’s really what tipped me over the edge to get into this business.”
When the man at the helm of the expansion of Sunrise Records has a strong business record and a love for records, we’ve got to be optimistic about the future for Sunrise and vinyl in Canada.