Following a Dream from Tesco to Tinopolis

This afternoon I’m off to play a few songs in a record shop in Llanelli.  The ‘Second 45’ does sell CDs, cassettes as well as other bits and bobs but its main thing is vinyl records.   


The Second 45, 4 Park Street, Llanelli SA15 3YE

In an age where you can stream virtually anything online you might be surprised to know that there are people out there who like to buy ‘old fashioned’ records.  In fact more than 2.7 million new LPs were sold in the first six months of 2023.  That’s up 12% from last year and that doesn’t count the sales of second hand albums.

But why? 

The British Phonographic Industry say that

‘the demand for vinyl continues to rise…driven by the passion fans feel for the format and the emotional connection it provides with the music they love’.

I suppose for those of us who grew up listening to vinyl records and reading the album covers this could be put down to nostalgia. It might help us to remember how records used to make us feel, but it appears that lots of ‘youngsters’ are now into vinyl and the market is set to continue growing for the foreseeable future.

Mike Kennedy and Mike Savory Second 45 Owners.

I first met one of the owners of the ‘Second 45’, Mike Kennedy, a number of years ago when he interviewed me for his show on Oystermouth Radio.  You could tell he was passionate about music, but at that time he had to juggle his love for music with a full time job as a store manager for Tesco.  Mike used to play drums in a number of bands before tearing his Achilles tendon.  The tendon healed but by that time the drums had been sold and Mike settled into a life in retail.

Oystermouth Radio gave Mike the chance to reignite his passion for music.  He started by interviewing some local players like Deke Leonard from Man, Terry Williams from Man and Dire Straits and Steve Balsamo.  Radio promotion people have realised that these independent local stations are a great way to reach an audience outside of the National Stations. The bottom line is they need the exposure but as they can work with demanding artistes they need to know they can trust the person conducting the interview.

Mike interviewing legendary guitarist Brian Breeze.

Mike started building a good radio reputation. Over the years doors opened up for Mike to chat to everyone from Suzi Quatro, Kula Shaker to legends like Allan Clarke from the Hollies and Dean Friedman. As the years passed Mike grew frustrated with balancing his ‘proper’ job with his ‘hobby’.

The pivotal moment for Mike was Covid Lockdown.  I think for many of us that period was a time of reflection.  With normal life on hold it gave lots of people the chance to re-evaluate and work out what they really wanted to do with their lives.  Mike had a chat with his wife Teresa and decided it was time for a change.  After 38 years in retail, managing stores right across South Wales, Mike took early retirement.

Record Fairs Wales/Cymru Guildhall Cardigan.

Its strange how often when you take a step of faith or a leap into the unknown other things start to fall into place.  Mike had known another Mike, Mike Savory, who he had met through radio.  Mike Savory had been running ‘Record Fairs Wales-Cymru’ for some time and knew there was a demand for vinyl.  Mike’s Record Fairs are held all over the country in community centres or church halls. It’s an opportunity for people to buy and sell records and cassettes but also to meet like-minded people who love music.

Visitors to the Fairs range from those who have been vinyl fanatics for years to people starting out on building their collection.   I’m told there’s nothing more exciting than someone finding that final piece of vinyl to complete their collection that they’ve been searching for, for years.

So when Mike Kennedy announced he was leaving Tesco and the opportunity arose to open a shop in Llanelli with Mike Savory opened up, Mike jumped at the chance.  The lease was signed in Oct 2022 and ‘Second 45’ opened in Jan 2023.

Mike with the TIWN team and a new edition of the magazine

As well as the shop Mike has continued his Radio work with his Welsh Connections show which is now broadcast online right across the world.  That led to connecting with Kaysha Louvain and Craig Mapstone.  Kaysha and Craig had set up TIWN, a one stop shop for musicians which provided all sorts of services from PR and Radio Promotion to photoshoots and Music videos.

TIWN now organises lots of live events in partnership with venues across Wales as well as working with industry organisations like the Performing Rights Society to create music video showcases every year. TIWN also publishes a quarterly magazine. It seems that while some people like streaming their music and reading about music online others really like the physicality of not only owning vinyl records but reading physical magazines too.

Mark Twain said, ‘Find a job you enjoy doing and you’ll never work a day in your life’.  I get the feeling that is where Mike Kennedy is these days. But the thing is Mike knows what he’s doing.  Its all very well wanting to live out a dream but without the right skills that dream can soon turn into a complete nightmare.  Mike has 38 years of retail experience.  He knows how a spreadsheet works and he knows that the numbers have to work. That together with Mike Savory’s background in Record Fairs gives everyone confidence in their project.

One of the boys ideas was to bring live music in store to the shop in Llanelli.  They have welcomed guests from all over Wales and as far away as Scotland.  Their location right opposite the Tinopolis studios has meant that a number of their Welsh language instore sessions have been filmed for the S4C evening show ‘Heno’.

The shop also tries its best to support Welsh artists but operating a zero commission on sales of their products.

I’m not sure who will turn up this afternoon but in the past the shop has welcomed visitors from all over Europe and Canada who have heard there’s a shop selling great vinyl in Wales. With some big gigs coming up for me over the next few months including the Royal Welsh Showground on 9th September and my Golden Jubilee Concert at the Grand on 3rd October this might be a nice little warm up session to see if I can still hit the high notes.

Second 45

4 Park Street

Llanelli SA15 3YE

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