However, the once-popular Glasgow shopping destination is about to receive a “shot in the arm” with the news that much-loved Dundee vinyl retailer Assai is to open its first Glasgow record store on the street.
Assai Records will take over the space vacated by the former Ladbrokes betting shop at the junction of Sauchiehall Street and Blythswood Street, with an opening date planned for later this month.
The first Assai Records store opened its doors in Dundee suburb Broughty Ferry in 2015, before a second specialist vinyl shop was opened in the West End district of Edinburgh in 2017.
Assai then relocated the Broughty Ferry store to Dundee’s Union Street in 2019 to continue its journey as one of the city’s leading independent stores.
Both sites are known for hosting in-store live performances, playing host to artists such as The Twilight Sad, Malcolm Middleton, Tom Walker, Idlewild, Lewis Capaldi, Foals, Divine Comedy, Two Door Cinema Club, Sam Fender and most recently Tide Lines and Free Love.
Assai also operates its own record label, Assai Recordings, which has supported Scots talent such as The View frontman Kyle Falconer, Carousel, Brownbear, Billy Mitchell and Hamish Hawk.
After three years of planning, Assai owner Keith Ingram said he is “delighted” to be opening Assai’s first Glasgow store on Sauchiehall Street, having worked in the former HMV store on the street as store manager nearly two decades ago.
He said: “I am a huge supporter of Sauchiehall Street and delighted to be opening as I previously worked in a record store on Sauchiehall Street almost 20 years ago and it’s great to be back ‘home’.”
Councillor Angus Millar, Convener for City Centre Recovery at Glasgow City Council, said it represents “another sign of investor confidence” in Sauchiehall Street and the city centre.
He said: “Sauchiehall Street has seen some significant investment in recent times as we work to support the recovery of this key city centre street, and it’s great to see Assai Records opening their first Glasgow store here. This move builds on the success of the nearby McLellan Works and is another sign of investor confidence in the street and the city centre.”
Glasgow MSP Paul Sweeney, a board member at Glasgow City Heritage Trust, also expressed his hope that the new record store will “provide a short in the arm” for Sauchiehall Street.
He said: “This is incredibly welcome news, and will hopefully provide a shot in the arm for an area of Glasgow city centre that has long been in decline. Sauchiehall Street was once the jewel in the crown of Glasgow’s retail experience, but for too long Glasgow City Council have allowed it to fall into disrepair, and have been more content putting vinyl over empty shopfront windows than trying to attract new business to the area.
“We now have a small cluster of excellent small businesses, from the McLellan Works to this new venture by Assai, and hopefully it will give other businesses the courage to locate to Sauchiehall Street. I wish the team at Assai all the best in the coming years and look forward to paying them a visit.”
The new Sauchiehall Street offering joins a rich vinyl music store landscape in Glasgow that is home to the likes of Monorail Music, Missing Records, Palais de Danse and Rubadub in the city centre and Mixed Up Records in the west end of the city.