At just 77 square feet, Tiny Record Shop certainly sizes up to its name. A wee shop within a shop lining the back of gift store Token on Queen East, it's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of place. But what the store lacks in stature, it more than makes up for in its superbly curated vinyl selection.
The records here aren't the dank, musty scratchers you find in thrift stores. At Tiny Record Shop, each record has been carefully sourced and selected for showcase. Custom bins are stocked with A-grade vinyl across all genres with highlighted new releases and back-catalogue used copies displayed neatly on shelves.
"Crate diggers will find countless worthwhile titles," says shop owner Trevor Larocque. "When flipping through the bins, you’ll be continually surprised by the titles. Diggers won’t find crates of dollar bin records that take up a lot of space in larger stores. We’re a small space and take pride in every record we stock."
Tiny Record Shop specializes in rare and high-end vintage albums and the merchandise is quite reasonably priced. The store runs themes to highlight the diversity of its stock — from hard-to-find '90s LPs to jazz albums and Japanese pressings. They will also buy quality vinyl so you can pare down records you haven't listened to in a while and freshen your collection while you're there.
In less than a year, Tiny Record Shop has firmly established itself in the local vinyl scene. Larocque, who also runs Toronto-based indie label Paper Bag Records, says he's always been an avid record collector and wanted a space where he could showcase his love for vinyl with others who shared his enthusiasm.
"Througout the '90s, I was collecting when the medium almost died," he says. "By running Paper Bag Records, I’ve noticed the recent resurgence of vinyl. The opportunity for the space came up so I opened up the Tiny Record Shop with my partner, Maude."
With the music industry's plight to redefine itself in this day and age, Tiny Record Shop has so far defied the struggles of other brick-and-mortar music stores. Not only has the shop become the go-to for record buyers in the east end, it's also become something of a destination with vinyl aficionados from all over the city.
"It means that people still care about buying music," Larocque says. "It’s always nice to talk to people in the shop about their genuine excitement about an album and their love of vinyl. It’s a lot of work but worth it to give the community a quality record store in the east end."
Beyond dealing records, Tiny Record Shop is the only spot to pick up physical concert tickets on the east side. They also host regular in-store performances, the most recent being an acoustic session by Sam Roberts during NXNE, through the shop's connection to the larger Common Sort space next door.
"The community has been overwhelmingly positive to us," he says. "It’s really humbling to have people thank me when they come into the shop since they feel like it’s exactly what the area was missing."
Check out its online store at tinyrecordshop.com, and follow along with its heavy presence on social media. The shop consistently posts rare and highly sought-after records on its Instagram account and Twitter accounts.
804 Queen St. E