Loafers is life...

  • by Mark Richardson
  • 29 Aug, 2017
I’m writing this blog, exactly 4 weeks since the opening of Loafers. My concept and vision was to open a vinyl record shop that served great coffee in a unique setting. I’m proud to say I have achieved that dream and totally and utterly surpassed all my expectations.

Firstly, I have to be honest and say the past 4 weeks have been a whirlwind of 12 hour days, fuelled by coffee, flapjack and great music. I’ve experienced so much in the last month, it’s impossible to find the right words to describe the experience.

Since the end of March, Loafers became my 3rd baby (after Noah and Nell). I put everything into making my dream become a reality and on 1 August, it became very real. I suddenly found myself driving into Halifax, listening to my own voice (Northern plonker) on Pulse radio, talking about how I was feeling, opening my own business in the amazing Piece Hall. Looking back, I described the feeling perfectly. It was that ‘Christmas morning’ feeling of excitement, anticipation and what the day would bring.

I arrived at The Piece Hall where the crowds were massive, I had friends, family, my children and partner (soon to be my fiancée, unknown to her) and what seemed like the whole population of Yorkshire queuing to get in. It was a phenomenal day for the town, the county and all the new businesses opening their doors at 10am that morning. The Piece Hall was reborn and all the hard work, sleepless nights, planning and effort proved to be worth it.

The response was unbelievable. As I dropped the needle on Green Onions by Booker T & The MG’s, the Piece Hall came alive again. Loafers became a mass throng of activity, where I can only describe it as like a 10 hour gig. People loved the place and so did we. I need to say a massive, massive thank you to everyone who visited us that day. It was breath taking and I don’t think I could have dreamt for a better first day. 

Throughout the day, I met so many great people who commented on how impressed they were with the vibe in Loafers and the selection of records, the quality of the coffee and of course, the artwork, which literally flew out of the door. So much so, I have just sold my 120th print. Matt Grainger, the man behind the art is a very proud and humble man and I can’t thank him enough for his genius. He’s a friend for life and we have some more exclusive prints coming soon.

That evening, I asked Sarah if she’d marry me one day and she said yes. It wasn’t a publicity stunt, but I couldn’t really think of a better day or place to put the ring on her finger. Fortunately she said yes and a week later, agreed to join me in Loafers as my partner. I need her for many reasons but mainly for her brains, business acumen and ability to change the till roll when we’re under pressure!

So it was a fab day and the rest of August has been a brilliant journey. People love Loafers and keep coming back for the coffee and the eclectic selection of records. I’m very proud of that and I feel blessed to have met so many lovely people who love to come back and browse the racks, have a coffee and enjoy the vibe. I have created a haven for music and coffee lovers. Watching people purchase their favourite record or vinyl they haven't seen before is such a good feeling and I am so excited about the future as I continue to build the brand and serve all my great customers.

It’s brilliant to see people of all ages buying vinyl. On day 1 I observed a young lad waiting 20 minutes to purchase The Best of Herp Albert. I then watched a girl dance on the spot when she picked up a copy of Oasis, Definitely Maybe. And then to witness an old lady queing for 10 minutes to buy Phantom of the Opera. Only last week a girl bought Spice World which was great and a group of young kids rushed in to the shop, clutching their pocket money, in search of Beach Boys records. The place has been a buzz for the the whole month. What a great feeling and long may it continue. 

From next week, Sarah will be joining me full time so we can move our business online aswell as physically. You’ll then be able to purchase records on line, along with coffee, art and special Loafers branded merchandise. So watch this space and continue to follow us on social media for regular updates.

In closing, I just want to thank everyone who has visited and made so many positive comments about Loafers. I’d like to thank all my friends and family who have helped with washing up duties and helping me keep up with the demand throughout such a busy month. You’re all superstars and I’m grateful to all of you.

Finally, the reason I have been able to do this is due to the lessons I learnt growing up. I had 2 very special people in my life, who helped me become the man I am today. At the beginning of this journey back in May, I lost my grandma and I vowed to make her proud. I miss her dearly. On 5 August, just 4 days after Loafers was born, my grandad passed away peacefully in his sleep. If they could have described his cause of death as a broken heart, they would have. He missed my grandma and died just 11 weeks and 2 days after her passing. I will always work hard, stay humble and be the best that I can because that’s what they taught me.

I spoke to my grandad 48 hours before he passed away and he said, ‘I’m so pleased for you Mark. This time next year we’ll be millionaires.’ He was a great man and I’ll miss him dearly.

It’s been difficult trying to summarise the last month. All I can say is its been amazing and it’s great to be part of the Piece Hall community, which will only get better as more shops open and the events continue to take place in the stunning surroundings.

In my next blog I’ll talk a bit more about the music and what Loafers has planned, including the new artwork, gin and coffee tasting, combined with vinyl and some special gifts for Christmas.

Thank you for reading and thank you for your amazing support.

One love.

Mark xxxx
by Mark Richardson 22 Dec, 2017
So this is Christmas, and what have we done? 2017 has been a rollercoaster, filled with extreme highs and a few lows. This time last year I was finishing for Christmas, thinking how I could make 2017 a better year. I had a dream vision that I cannot believe, 12 months later, is a reality and as the saying goes, I really am living the dream. 

Loafers is only 5 months old, but through ambition, drive, hard work and a passion for music and coffee, I have seen my vision come to life in such an amazing way. I know many of you reading this are friends or customers of Loafers and I cannot thank you enough for your help and support since the shop opened its doors on 1 August. I believe Loafers has become a destination, an experience, a meeting place and a haven for music and coffee lovers. I have so many more plans for 2018 but for now, I just want to thank Matt Grainger for his incredible artwork, Linda Melzani for her brand design and Sarah for her encouragement, love and support. My kids have been awesome, parents incredible and the values that were instilled in me by my grand parents, have made me work hard and believe in myself. 

Last month we hosted a poetry evening in Loafers and I read out my little story to open the evening. I've included the words below, which sum up my 'Life in Loafers.'

''I'm standing here, proud in my own place. Smiling, humble, over the moon with the reality of my vision. In this beautiful building, The Piece Hall, I have created a haven. Vinyl, coffee, art, people, atmosphere. Sounds, smells of fresh ground coffee, nostalgia, memories, conversations and emotions, created by beautiful music.

I hear so many voices. 'I had that on record, I've got that in my loft. OOOOh, play that again Mark. I'll have a coffee whilst I'm here.' 

Lennon, Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Dylan, Oasis and Pink Floyd. 'I love your shop.'

Vinyl is back, it's in demand. The classics, the obscure, the old and the new. The world is a giant turntable of music to explore. 

Theres something wonderful about playing a record. Removing it from the sleeve, placing it on the turntable, and watching the needle hit the groove. It's an experience. Playing a record takes you somewhere, back to a memory, a moment, a lost and beautiful time. Time we won't get back but a time we won't forget. A moment in time, generated by a lyric, a note or a harmony. 

As I look back on the last few months, I'm so proud of what has become of a felt tip drawing I did with my daughter Nell. We now have Loafers. Where people meet, to drink coffee, browse the vinyl, listen to records and enjoy the ambience in beautiful surroundings. People, poets, writers, tourists, celebrities, family, friends have all been here and I continue to make new friends and memories. Music is power!

Thank you to you all. Play your music loud, it makes you a better person. ''

Look out for our next poetry evening on 25 January in Loafers from 7pm.

As you know, George will be joining us (17 of us in fact) for Christmas dinner. I'll post a couple of pictures. George, like many other lovely people has become a regular customer of Loafers. He loves the coffee and the conversation. I have several other people who love the choice of records and always come back. If they can't find a record they want, I do my best to find it for them. Many other people just love the atmosphere. If you haven't already, please visit The Piece Hall and call into Loafers. 

I'd like to wish you all a brilliant Christmas and look forward to seeing you in a happy and prosperous 2018.

One love xxxx
Mark
 
by Mark Richardson 23 Oct, 2017
Good evening all. Hope you’re well. I’m sorry I haven’t written a blog post for a while. Here we are, autumn 2017 and Loafers has been up and running for nearly 3 months. The first thing I want to say is thank you to all the fantastic people who have visited Loafers and to all the loyal and return customers who pop in every week for a coffee or to buy a record. It’s brilliant to be part of something so special at the Piece Hall.  

Like the Piece Hall, Loafers has become a destination and I hope my plan to create a haven for music and coffee lovers has been achieved. It’s certainly a wonderful place to work. I never thought I’d say this but I love Monday mornings as much as any other day! We now have people hosting their business meetings in Loafers and people are returning for their daily coffee fix, as well as their vinyl needs! I wanted Loafers to have an atmosphere where people were comfortable to sit, listen to the music, have a meeting, or plug in and do some work. I see this every day and I’m so pleased that our customers enjoy the experience.

I also wanted it to be the place where you could ask for an obscure record and I would do my best to find it. We have customers who come back every week for this very reason. Including a man in his 60’s who seeks rare 7” acid house singles and a local paramedic who today picked up ‘Men in Black’ by Will Smith and ‘Ice Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice. After enjoying a strong Crowtree cafetiere, he left a happy man! That’s the kind of record shop I wanted to create and long may it continue, keep your requests coming and we’ll do our best to find them!

As well as the obscure and second hand records, we stock all the new releases (when available) and continue to stock up on a broad range of vinyl to suit everyone’s taste. Last weekend, a group of students came in from Leeds and between them managed to buy the Dunkirk soundtrack, the Johnny Cash collection, Orbital live in Ibiza and The Prodigy, Fat of the Land. It was a great moment as they all left the shop with something they really wanted. Hopefully, the selection of records available will continue to cater for everyone.

There have been some great releases in 2017 and I’ve previously talked about the brilliant Stone Foundation. We saw them performing live in Holmfirth last night and I managed to grab a signed setlist after the gig. They’re a superb live band and really lovely blokes. We have copies of their 2nd album, ‘A life unlimited’ in stock now and will have ‘Street Rituals’ coming in again shortly. It’s a must listen!

Other records on constant rotation in Loafers are ‘A deeper Understanding’ by The War on Drugs and ‘As you were’ by Liam Gallagher. 2 superb records, which sound fantastic on the turntable.

With The War on Drugs, we have a record that is impossible to define. The musicianship is precise and beautiful and the melodies just take you to another place. It’s a fantastic album with so much grandeur, it tells a story, of how a rush of sound can take us somewhere we can’t explain. In these dark times, it’s great to lose yourself in a record and simply enjoy the sound of it. Its a real work of genius and I’ll make sure we have plenty of copies in stock!

Growing up listening to Oasis and the cocky cry of Liam’s voice, I’ve been looking forward to his first solo album. ‘As you were’ is everything I’d hoped for. Solid songs, plenty of attitude and a nod to our favourite bands of the past. It’s nothing ground breaking but a really good album that outshines everything Oasis released since Be Here Now. There was a stampede for his new record when released so there will be plenty of copies available in Loafers by the end of this week.

We’ve been organising our diaries for the next 3 months and there is so much to look forward to as we head towards Christmas. This Thursday, 26 October, we’re hosting a poetry evening, 7-9pm. Come along for coffee, cake and an evening of poetry and spoken word. On 2nd November, we’re having a coffee tasting evening with our suppliers, Darkwoods. The science behind coffee is intriguing so it will give you an opportunity to understand the different types of roast and blend and to taste some great coffees. Tickets are available on our website. Again, there will be plenty of coffee, cake and I’ll spin some great records. Try and come along if you’re free.

December at The Piece Hall will be a magical time and throughout the month, we will be hosting some great musicians in the shop. On 2nd December, Mark Whiteside who has a dark and introspective sound, nestling somewhere between Bowie, Nick Cave and Tindersticks will be playing his acoustic. On 9 December, Christopher Mullen will be playing his folk and world influenced music on his ukulele. And on 16 December we have Adam Barry and Dan Sealey from Merrymaker playing in Loafers. Great lads and brilliant musicians, this will be an afternoon not to be missed! More news on these events will follow soon.

Running your own business is hard work but so much fun and it’s been amazing to meet some lovely people in the shop. I’ve got a new friend called George who is 84 years old and has a coffee with me every week. All being well, he will be joining us for Christmas lunch this year. His only request is that we play Simon & Garfunkel on the record player. We can definitely make that happen. Last week I received a message from a lady in Italy, who asked for some purple moccasins in a size 8! I had to explain that we were a record shop and I could only get hold of ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince! Only today did a lady ask me to dance in the shop when ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless kicked in. I had to decline as I had 6 hot chocolates to make! And on Friday, a lovely chap gave us a hand made wooden spoon that he’d made especially for us to scoop up the coffee beans with. He’s a regular customer and a great lad. At this rate, we’ll have 30 people round for Christmas!

So, with Christmas fast approaching, don’t forget we have music, merchandise, artwork and coffee available to buy on our website. Gift vouchers are also available in the shop. It promises to be a wonderful Christmas at The Piece Hall so do join us for great coffee or hot chocolate and even better music!

Thanks again for all your support. Please keep spreading the word and supporting us and all the other independent small businesses in The Piece Hall. If you have any comments, questions or recommendations, please let us know.

See you soon. Mark and Sarah.

by Mark Richardson 29 Aug, 2017
I’m writing this blog, exactly 4 weeks since the opening of Loafers. My concept and vision was to open a vinyl record shop that served great coffee in a unique setting. I’m proud to say I have achieved that dream and totally and utterly surpassed all my expectations.

Firstly, I have to be honest and say the past 4 weeks have been a whirlwind of 12 hour days, fuelled by coffee, flapjack and great music. I’ve experienced so much in the last month, it’s impossible to find the right words to describe the experience.

Since the end of March, Loafers became my 3rd baby (after Noah and Nell). I put everything into making my dream become a reality and on 1 August, it became very real. I suddenly found myself driving into Halifax, listening to my own voice (Northern plonker) on Pulse radio, talking about how I was feeling, opening my own business in the amazing Piece Hall. Looking back, I described the feeling perfectly. It was that ‘Christmas morning’ feeling of excitement, anticipation and what the day would bring.

I arrived at The Piece Hall where the crowds were massive, I had friends, family, my children and partner (soon to be my fiancée, unknown to her) and what seemed like the whole population of Yorkshire queuing to get in. It was a phenomenal day for the town, the county and all the new businesses opening their doors at 10am that morning. The Piece Hall was reborn and all the hard work, sleepless nights, planning and effort proved to be worth it.

The response was unbelievable. As I dropped the needle on Green Onions by Booker T & The MG’s, the Piece Hall came alive again. Loafers became a mass throng of activity, where I can only describe it as like a 10 hour gig. People loved the place and so did we. I need to say a massive, massive thank you to everyone who visited us that day. It was breath taking and I don’t think I could have dreamt for a better first day. 

Throughout the day, I met so many great people who commented on how impressed they were with the vibe in Loafers and the selection of records, the quality of the coffee and of course, the artwork, which literally flew out of the door. So much so, I have just sold my 120th print. Matt Grainger, the man behind the art is a very proud and humble man and I can’t thank him enough for his genius. He’s a friend for life and we have some more exclusive prints coming soon.

That evening, I asked Sarah if she’d marry me one day and she said yes. It wasn’t a publicity stunt, but I couldn’t really think of a better day or place to put the ring on her finger. Fortunately she said yes and a week later, agreed to join me in Loafers as my partner. I need her for many reasons but mainly for her brains, business acumen and ability to change the till roll when we’re under pressure!

So it was a fab day and the rest of August has been a brilliant journey. People love Loafers and keep coming back for the coffee and the eclectic selection of records. I’m very proud of that and I feel blessed to have met so many lovely people who love to come back and browse the racks, have a coffee and enjoy the vibe. I have created a haven for music and coffee lovers. Watching people purchase their favourite record or vinyl they haven't seen before is such a good feeling and I am so excited about the future as I continue to build the brand and serve all my great customers.

It’s brilliant to see people of all ages buying vinyl. On day 1 I observed a young lad waiting 20 minutes to purchase The Best of Herp Albert. I then watched a girl dance on the spot when she picked up a copy of Oasis, Definitely Maybe. And then to witness an old lady queing for 10 minutes to buy Phantom of the Opera. Only last week a girl bought Spice World which was great and a group of young kids rushed in to the shop, clutching their pocket money, in search of Beach Boys records. The place has been a buzz for the the whole month. What a great feeling and long may it continue. 

From next week, Sarah will be joining me full time so we can move our business online aswell as physically. You’ll then be able to purchase records on line, along with coffee, art and special Loafers branded merchandise. So watch this space and continue to follow us on social media for regular updates.

In closing, I just want to thank everyone who has visited and made so many positive comments about Loafers. I’d like to thank all my friends and family who have helped with washing up duties and helping me keep up with the demand throughout such a busy month. You’re all superstars and I’m grateful to all of you.

Finally, the reason I have been able to do this is due to the lessons I learnt growing up. I had 2 very special people in my life, who helped me become the man I am today. At the beginning of this journey back in May, I lost my grandma and I vowed to make her proud. I miss her dearly. On 5 August, just 4 days after Loafers was born, my grandad passed away peacefully in his sleep. If they could have described his cause of death as a broken heart, they would have. He missed my grandma and died just 11 weeks and 2 days after her passing. I will always work hard, stay humble and be the best that I can because that’s what they taught me.

I spoke to my grandad 48 hours before he passed away and he said, ‘I’m so pleased for you Mark. This time next year we’ll be millionaires.’ He was a great man and I’ll miss him dearly.

It’s been difficult trying to summarise the last month. All I can say is its been amazing and it’s great to be part of the Piece Hall community, which will only get better as more shops open and the events continue to take place in the stunning surroundings.

In my next blog I’ll talk a bit more about the music and what Loafers has planned, including the new artwork, gin and coffee tasting, combined with vinyl and some special gifts for Christmas.

Thank you for reading and thank you for your amazing support.

One love.

Mark xxxx
by Mark Richardson 16 Jul, 2017
Hi everyone, hope you’ve all had a great weekend. We’re now only 2 weeks away from the re-opening of the amazing Piece Hall in Halifax. I am so excited to be opening Loafers in such a stunning location. As I’ve said before, It's a unique and beautiful destination that continues to wow me. I’m looking forward to showing it off as my new place of work.

Since my last blog, there has been so much to plan and organise and with only 2 weeks to go, there is still quite a lot to do but watching the project come together fills me with pride and excitement. My dream is slowly becoming a reality.

I completed my ‘new vinyl’ order a couple of weeks ago and that will be arriving in the next few days. It was quite a challenging process because I have to ensure all genres are covered, including the classics, the obscure, current and popular records and a little bit of what I like. I’ve made a good selection of records and I’m looking forward to spinning them in Loafers for your listening pleasure. There’s a little bit of everything amongst my stock, from John Coltrane, The Bluetones, Thievery Corporation and David Bowie. I want Loafers to be the place you will always buy your vinyl and of course, drink your coffee.

My selection of used vinyl is also looking good and we’ve been listening to some old classics on the turntable to ensure their quality. UB40’s ‘Rat in the Kitchen’ has been on rotation at breakfast time (the kids like to dance whilst eating their coco pops) and I’ll never tire of hearing Nat King Cole’s voice. I have a brilliant copy of his greatest hits, which will be for sale. I also picked up a brilliant 12’’ single by ’Smiley Culture' which is a mixture of Ska, reggae and dancehall. There’s some cracking records for you to have a dig through!

New music has been superb this year and another record I will be stocking is ‘Street Rituals’ by The Stone Foundation. It's an album of soulful, vibrant and uplifting tracks. The record has a very jazz influenced sound, with amazing musicianship and vocals. Your balloon is rising’ is the standout track on this record and for me, the soundtrack of 2017 so far. It will sound wonderful coming out of the speakers in Loafers, accompanied by a great cup of hand brewed coffee of course.

The fit out of Loafers is well underway and the turntable and sound system will be in place by the end of next week. The counter, hot water font and coffee bar will look superb and once the coffee bean grinder is in operation, the beautiful smell of fresh coffee will ooze through the shop. Along with the music and the vista, it will be a wonderful place to relax, have a drink and listen to great vinyl.

I’ve spent the last 2 weeks in the Piece Hall, varnishing tables, working with the joiner, plumber and electrician and overseeing their work. I am loving the whole experience and watching the project come together is amazing. It's given me a few sleepless nights recently but we’ve used the 4am starts to upload the stock onto the till and decide which record will be played at 10am on 1 August when the doors open for trading. Exciting times!

Making a good coffee is more scientific than you think and on 5 July, Sarah and I spent the day with Darkwoods Coffee, who will be supplying my coffee beans. We talked about regions, single origins and blend, flavour profile, roasting techniques and sampled some great tasting coffee. I will be taking a different approach to what people are used to when buying and drinking coffee.

The beans will be ground in Loafers and then hand brewed, using a few different methods. I will be serving 4 types of coffee, including house beans that will rotate, a decaffeinated coffee that has been washed in spring water and a speciality bean that I will be selecting with Darkwoods on a monthly basis. I will also be serving freshly brewed leaf tea. You’ll rarely see this method of serving coffee, so make your way to Loafers for the experience. I promise (once I’ve practiced a bit more) it will be the only way to drink your coffee, which will also be available to buy and take home or drink as a takeaway.

I’ve attached a photo, which was taken during the coffee tasting session. A great experience.

I look forward to seeing you all soon. If you have any suggestions, recommendations, feedback or vinyl requests, please let me know. The artwork I’ll be selling is proving to be really popular so if you’d like to reserve one of the framed prints, please get in touch.

Enjoy the rest of July and play the music loud.

One love, Mark xxxxx
by Mark Richardson 14 Jun, 2017
Hi everyone, thanks for checking my website and taking the time to read my 2nd blog post. I’ve been really busy since my first blog and I thought it would be interesting to tell you what’s been happening in the life of Mark and Loafers.

I always knew that setting up my own business would be challenging and whilst it has given me a few sleepless nights, I feel incredibly blessed to be in a position to follow my passion for music. I’ve had a couple more meetings at the Piece Hall in the last month and it never fails to take my breath away when I go through the big green gates and step up onto the Rustic level, where Loafers will be situated. The vision for my record shop, overlooking the beautiful courtyard within the Piece Hall is what continues to drive me on.

As I write, I’m sat in my new home, listening to the new London Grammar record on vinyl and the song playing is their version of 'Bittersweet Symphony' by The Verve. A truly brilliant cover of one of the greatest songs ever written, with lyrics that resonate every time I hear them.

The new London Grammar record is called ‘Truth is a Beautiful Thing’, which has stunning, almost haunting vocals and amazing production. It’s an album of reflection, love and hope. A masterpiece in my opinion and a reminder of how good music is for the mind and soul.

I’ve also been listening to the new Paul Weller album, ‘A Kind Revolution,’ which is one of his finest albums since his early solo releases of Wild Wood and Stanley Road. It’s creative, fresh, soulful and his voice just gets better as he gets older. If you only listen to 1 song from his new record, you have to hear 'Long Long Road', which is a gorgeous ballad about this thing called life and it has to be heard on vinyl to appreciate the musicianship and quality of the song. It's definitely in my top 10 Paul Weller tracks of all time.  

Another artist who continues to push boundaries is Tim Burgess of The Charlatans who released their 13th studio album, ‘Different days' in May. I’ve always loved The Charlatans and their new album is full of great tracks, never sounding more forward thinking and relevant.

Tim Burgess loves to talk about vinyl and coffee and he has already championed Loafers with a couple of tweets of his own. Having moved house, my new neighbour happens to be one of the roadies with The Charlatans and he managed to get hold of a set list, signed by Tim, during their album launch in Manchester. Along with the signed photo from Ocean Colour Scene, it will be framed and take pride of place behind the counter in Loafers. I’m so humbled to receive good luck wishes from 2 of my favourite bands!

So whilst I’ve been planning for the opening of Loafers, involving lots of coffee tasting, meetings with joiners, architects, accountants, vinyl suppliers, printers and artists, I’ve managed to move house, with 4 children pulling on my coat tails! It’s been a very hectic time so with that in mind, I thought I’d squeeze in my first triathlon in Leeds. It was an amazing experience and I raised over £300 for Overgate Hospice. 

What has been amazing on this journey is that my faith has been restored in human beings. Faith that is regularly tested when you watch the daily news. The wonderful Linda Melzani who designed my branding and logo will forever be a hero to me. I absolutely love the logo and hope you do too. I will be serving hand brewed coffee and tea in branded cups and you will be able to purchase branded record bags and button badges when I open on 1 August. Thank you Linda for your inspirational work.

Somebody else I want to mention is Matt Grainger, the man behind the art work. I found Matt on twitter last year and our friendship became instant when we started talking about music. We grew up in different counties, listening to 'Definitely Maybe' by Oasis and pretending we were as cool as Liam Gallagher. Unfortunately, neither of us can sing but I can spot a superstar when I see one! His eye for art is unbelievable and I can’t wait to display and sell his artwork in Loafers. The only physical place to purchase his brilliant work. There will be some limited edition prints available from 1 August so watch this space for further news on that.

On 5 July I will be spending the day at Darkwoods coffee, where I will be selecting the coffee and tea I want to serve in Loafers. I will also be completing some training on how to make a really great filter coffee. I'll provide an update on how this goes in my next blog, which will also include a photo from the inside of Loafers and the Piece Hall. Images I can’t wait to share. I will be going into the shop from 3 July to fit it out and fill the record racks. I’ll also be meeting my new neighbours on the Rustic Level. I wonder who they’ll be!

Can’t wait to see you all from 1 August. If you have any questions or feedback in the meantime, please let me know.

As the lyrics go ‘its a bittersweet symphony this life…….'

One love. Mark xxx
by Mark Richardson 20 May, 2017
Welcome to Loafers, a haven for music lovers. Thank you for visiting and reading my page.

 I intend on writing a blog as often as possible, whether it be to talk about a new record, exciting news, or what’s coming up in Loafers and the Piece Hall. The great thing is, I LOVE music and you can talk about it all day because it generates so much interest, conversation and evokes memories, emotion and passion. Talking about your favourite song or vinyl record, your favourite live band or the artist that you listen to every day. I’m so excited to be able to write about the wonderful thing that is MUSIC.

I’ve always had a fascination with vinyl records. I remember sitting on the floor as a 5 year old, beneath my dad’s old record player, flicking through his vinyl collection of The Eagles, ELO, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and Simon & Garfunkel. I was absorbed with the art work on the sleeve, the smell of the old vinyl and the crackle of the record as the first bars of the song began playing. There is something wonderful about the whole experience of playing a record and there is a never ending catalogue of music available to explore across so many genres.

My vision was to combine a vinyl record shop, with the alluring smell of coffee in a great environment. I’m incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to make this happen in the stunning surroundings of the Piece Hall in Yorkshire. Loafers will be a place where you can find that rare vinyl record or the latest release. I will welcome music lovers and casual visitors to browse and sample the music, whilst enjoying a brilliant cup of coffee or tea.

Since the end of March, a lot has happened. I’ve had some exciting meetings at the Piece hall with suppliers, joiners, architects and even my Grandad has popped in to check it all out. I’m well into the planning phase to make sure Loafers is ready for 1 August. It is important that I have a great selection of new and old vinyl ready for you to explore and sample. I will be selling some incredible artwork, images of which I will share with you as we approach the opening day and there will be some special edition art, only available in Loafers, so please keep checking back for more news.

I will be going into my unit on 3 July to begin fitting out the shop and will post regular pictures and updates to show how the transformation takes place. Not only will Loafers look, smell and feel great, the Piece Hall itself will take your breath away and it is a place that all Yorkshire folk should be proud of. There is no place like it in the world and I am over the moon to be located in such a beautiful place.

I have loads more to share over the next couple of months. For now, I’m going through the greatest shopping list ever (sourcing all my new vinyl), whilst digging through lots of used records. I’m working hard to ensure the look and feel of Loafers is perfect, the coffee and tea is as good as I promise and you can get hold of the record you really want. I want to create a music haven that you’ll always return to!

Thanks for reading my first blog. I have written this just a couple of days after my amazing Grandma passed away. She was always an inspiration to me and I want to make her proud. That can only be achieved if I work hard and provide a great place for the people. If you have any thoughts, ideas, recommendations or comments, please post them on here and I will take them all on board.

Thank you. One love.

Mark x

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