A pioneering record shop that became an integral part of Nottingham music scene is to close.

The Music Exchange, in Stoney Street, has supported homeless and vulnerable people to turn their lives around since it was opened in 2009, by homeless charity Framework.

Operating as more than just a record store but also a social enterprise, the shop gave hundreds of volunteers from challenging backgrounds the opportunity to experience invaluable retail experience in a fun, supportive environment.

Claire Eden, head of employment, volunteering and social enterprise for Framework explained: “Sadly we have reached a stage where the many benefits the shop brings to vulnerable people are outweighed by the costs of keeping it open.”

The shop, one of the first of its kind in the country, has won several awards and accolades, including being named as one of the best independent record shops in the country by The Observer and Daily Telegraph.

Since it opened, over 300 different volunteers, many with a direct experience of homelessness have worked in the shop.

It was a haven for people who wanted to work their way back to employment; to rediscover confidence and build on self esteem.

A total of 45 people gained employment immediately after volunteering at the shop.

Claire added: “Clearly this is a difficult time for staff and volunteers, but they should all
know that they have been part of something far bigger than just a record shop.

“I am enormously proud of what the Music Exchange has achieved and heartened to know that so many people will look back on it with fondness.”

“I am enormously proud of what the Music Exchange has achieved and heartened to know that so many people will look back on it with fondness.”

In an interview last May,manager, Joey Bell discussed his concerns for the future of the Music Exchange following the opening of rival store Rough Trade.

He said: “I think that the potential to grow in Nottingham has been reduced by Rough Trade.

There are only so many vinyl fans in Nottingham and even if we have a 50/50 split of their custom I don’t think there is enough to go around.”

His words are now bitterly poignant.

Today he added: “I’m still trying to get my head around it but I’m focusing on how proud I am of everything we managed to achieve.

It’s been a tough year and we’ve struggled to cope with a difficult trading environment, we’ve faced more competition from HMV and even Asda are now selling vinyl.”

March 10th 2016, will be the final day of trading for the Music Exchange and a ‘farewell’ concert is planned to commemorate the store.

Joey said: “We’re proud of our musical heritage and the scene we have been lucky enough to be part of in Nottingham.

We want to give back and will be working with local acts who have supported the store.”

Many have taken to social media to express their regret for the shop’s closure.

Matt Davies, music editor of student magazine, Platform, said: “It’s a sad day for Nottingham, losing not only a fantastic independent record store but also a genuine business that looked to put people before profit and helped many get back on their feet.

“When ever I visited I would find something new and exciting that I would never considered listening to before, no other shop at the moment is able to replicate that.”

Even rivals Rough Trade have noted what a great loss the Music Exchange will be.

General manager, Kyle Hougham said: “the music exchange is run by an amazing group of people and it’s certainly a loss as they have done some good things for the community.”

The Music Exchange is now running a closing down sale. For more information on this and the farewell concert see www.themusicexchange.org.uk.