Rab Smith owner of Domino Records in Dumfries tells the story of the shop and trying to get back on his feet after a disastrous flood. Any help from those in the Music Industry would be appreciated.
I started off in music by playing guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals in various bands plus solo since 1968 both in live gigs and recording studios, I DJ’d at parties and nightclubs from 1971, Radio presenter and producer since 1972 with various ILR, BBC and American stations. Live & Studio Sound Engineer since 1973. Still playing live as a musician, DJ and Front of House sound engineer and radio presenter & producer Pre-recording programs for various stations and a ‘Live’ Radio Show 4-7pm every Friday on Alive 107.30 FM in Dumfries & Galloway and on smart speakers, TuneIn app, Alexa etc and internet @aliveradio.net all over the world.
Domino Records was registered and started business in May 1978 with the first retail shop at 25 English Street Dumfries in June 1987 that building was sold to a new owner and as my 10 year lease was up, the new rental lease was to increase by 300% so I moved the shop to 52 Whitesands Dumfries. The main reasons for opening the shop were, the nearest ‘Independent Record Store’ was in Carlisle 35 miles away.
When the shop opened in May ’78 it became an instant success mainly because i used my experience in all the hundreds of gigs and parties i had organised since ’72 to stock a massive number of Albums, Cassettes and 7″ & 12″ singles including all the current and back catalogue from the best selling artists, i installed a high end sound system with twin decks, custom designed display units (I studied as an Architect and designed Nightclubs, Fun Pubs etc), also gave extra hours to some of the DJ’s in the shop who also had a good take on the current music scene and could help customers with their purchases. Within two weeks of opening, the shop was given ‘Chart Return Status’ and turnover had passed the initial business plan by well over 200%.
June 1987 Domino Records moved to 52 Whitesands Dumfries DG1 2RS (a 400 square foot shop plus 300 square feet of storage in the attic space) which has a large car park, the main road through Dumfries and the River Nith all within 100 yards of the front window. Takings continued to increase in the new location and the addition of a ‘video rental wall’ boosted income. The River Nith flooded on a few occasions, from 1987 to 1998, but never reached the shop. since 1998 to 2009 the river reached the shop seven times, mostly held back because of sandbags and floodgates although on three occasions the floor got soaked and I had to relay new carpet and wash the floor out, at that stage the insurance companies stopped flood insurance cover. Since 2009 the river started to flood more frequently and the shop’s flood defences were breached on four occasions with water flooding the floor to a maximum of six inches, although no stock was lost the clean up costs were high and each time the shop was closed for between seven and ten days.
On the 30th December 2022 an Amber Flood Warning was issued, SEPA informed me that the level of flood would be about the same as the last big flood in 2018,a team of five friends plus my wife and I installed fold up tables and lifted all stock off the floor and also to the attic allowing 24″clear from the floor to the stock. We abandoned the shop at 3pm with the water on the outside at about a foot above the floor level and a very small amount of water soaking the floor. I felt confident that although there would be another clean up to be done, the stock would be safe. I then went to my studio to broadcast my ‘Live’ Friday Drivetime radio show 4-7pm. At 7.30 SEPA issued a Red Flood Warning I tried to access the shop but the water was too high through the road and car park from a distance I estimated that we probably get 12-15″ in the shop, next day at 8am the water finally receded and I got access to the shop, to find that the water had totally overwhelmed the defences and flooded the shop to a level of 4′ 4″ (52″) above the floor level all the tables loaded with crates of Vinyl albums and CD’s had been knocked over and destroyed and all the stock ended up in the water.
A total of 7,448 Pre-Loved albums, 714 New albums, 2,340 CD’s, 1,260 DVD’s, the shop computer and printer, four display racks, the sound system the counter unit, wi-fi router, phone line, electric meter, alarm system and various accessories all destroyed. It took six weeks to clear up and salvage about 25% of the stock. The shop re-opened on Saturday 11th February with the salvaged stock and attic stock as a stockroom sale shop to try to get some money in to pay bills. The search for new affordable premises has begun, although the existing shop is in a great location, I can no longer trade from it. The building has now got some structural damage and the risk of another big flood is too great. Any help with album donations etc would be greatly appreciated.
I asked Rab what Proper titles he was enjoying.
Too many great albums from Proper, but I’ve selected two from the vast catalogue, both from artists I’ve met and interviewed.
Elles Bailey ‘Shining In The Half Light’ every track well written and produced and sold well in the shop almost every customer I introduced to the album bought it.
Eric Gales ‘Crown’ a gold double album, took a few listens to get into it properly, Eric has the ability to mix the sound of Prince and Jimi Hendrix into his music with amazing ease
Vinyl, CDs, DVDs, cassettes
Saturday – Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 10am – 4pm
Thursday: 10am – 4pm
Friday: 10am – 3pm