It’s tough starting a small business no matter where you are. You have to deal with rent, cost of goods, paying employees, taxes and all sorts of other things. Sometimes just one hiccup can put your whole establishment in jeopardy. What if there have been multiple ones? It can definitely disrupt the steady flow of business. Stolen merchandise can be an absolute killer; a loss in profit and revenue can result in a business closing for good. Among other obstacles, that’s what Chris & Jennifer Daltry have dealt with this year at their quaint little shop, What Cheer Records + Vintage, on the corner of Angell and Thayer Street in Providence’s East Side.
At one time, Thayer Street was known for having multiple record stores to choose from. Tom’s Tracks and the original In Your Ear Records were notable, among others, for being havens for music fanatics searching through troughs of vinyl to find that one album their ears were craving. These days, Thayer Street has evolved into a highly commercialized hub that lacks the same charm it had decades ago. What Cheer Records + Vintage is the only record store on the street since they moved from their Wayland Square location in June 2012. Being at their present location that has a lot more traffic and notability, you can only imagine managing their business has gotten more expensive for them.
With a few instances of people stealing records from their shop, the Daltrys have resorted to installing security cameras and moving their register closer to the door so they can combat these calamaties. You’d think that would be the end of their worries, but unfortunately it’s not. The building they’re in that also houses The Kind Connection and Chipotle just got bought by Stephen Lewinstein, who is part owner of Capstone Properties, a real estate firm based in Providence.
About this whole situation and the trial of tribulations What Cheer has faced in 2015, Chris says, “It’s been a tough year because of theft, and also because our building was sold. It has made us feel very uncertain about our future there. Having to relocate from our old location 3 ½ years ago was incredibly difficult for us, and we’re not sure we have another move in us. We also cannot face extreme rent hikes, as our current rent is nearly triple what we paid at our old space in Wayland Square.” With a history of increasing rent and making buildings financially suitable only for multi-million dollar corporations, you can understand why the Daltrys have a sense of uncertainty with Capstone Properties buying their building.
To the local consumer this should come as a concern and hopefully the apathy of the masses will transform to empathy when it comes to local small businesses just trying to get by. The citizens of Providence have been known for priding themselves on the city’s DIY community and always electing to spend their money at a local business with a wholesome quality rather than a chain filled with density and meaningless aesthetics.
What Cheer Records + Vintage will celebrate both their 16th year of being in business and the joy of the holiday season on Sunday, December 20. So stop by 180 Angell Street, buy a record for yourself and a cute little knickknack for the special someone in your life. Let’s keep one of Providence’s most unique and best businesses around.
Check out all the details on What Cheer Records + Vintage’s 16th Anniversary/Holiday Party on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1492595411045203
What Cheer Records + Vintage’s Website: http://whatcheerprovidence.com