At 14 years old Andy already bought and sold records to his school friends. When asked by a teacher what he wanted to do in life Andy said he wanted to own a record shop. His teacher scoffed and said "Chesham, you'll never have a record shop".
Andy aged 16
In December 1983 Andy met Sharon and they married in 1989. Andy hadn't given up on his dream of opening up his own record shop but it was put on the back burner now that he had a mortgage and bills to pay! In 1994 Andy was working as the Stadium Manager of Luton Town Football Club but gave up this job to set up his record shop. Family and friends thought he was mad as he now had a 1 year old baby daughter Nicole to support and tried to talk him out of it. However, Sharon did support the idea - on condition he didn't mess it up!!
On 2 May 1994 Andy opened up his record shop. People still scoffed and said "It will never work. You can't compete with the likes of Virgin, HMV, Our Price and Woolworths". He learnt fairly quickly that the business was changing rapidly and CDs had taken over from vinyl but he could compete against the "big boys" in merchandise and specialised in band t shirts, posters and badges etc. The term "hoody" was actually first coined by a member of his staff the infamous Mad Mark. The reps changed the name from hooded pullover to hoody!
Around the mid naughties CD sales drastically reduced and he noticed a lot of customers (who were very young) were downloading music for free on the new (at the time) Napster website. He stopped selling new CDs (much to the amusement of wholesalers who thought he was mad) but continued selling merchandise and started stocking more vinyl.
In 2007 we moved premises and found that records were flying out and merchandise sales were slowing down. Sharon started selling records on the Discogs website and this opened up a worldwide market for us. In 2016 our youngest daughter Debbie joined us helping us out on the online side of the business.
In 2010 we make the biggest decision in the shop history. We decided to go VINYL ONLY! The gamble paid off and we found new customers from all around the UK/globe. The only trouble now was that the shop was too small. We had a vision of exactly where we wanted the new shop to be. Right in the heart of what was about to become the cultural part of Luton. It took 6 years to find the right shop but as soon as we saw it we knew it was THE ONE! We moved in the Summer of 2016.
Andy with daughter Debbie
Vinyl Revelations has just celebrated 25 years and we partied hard with friends and customers many who have become friends over the years. On Saturday 16th November 2019 we put on a fabulous gig with The Tendons kicking it off. Only the day before The Tendons drummer had left the band so they had to quickly get a new drummer who learnt their songs just the night before! You would never have known - they were electric.
The Tendons sound checking
The next support band Hazard just get better and better every time we see them. We have watched the band members grow up from kids and they have formed one of the best bands on the circuit.
Hazard sound checking
Then a band that means a lot to us The Anti Nowhere League. We grew up listening to their LPs and if you'd told our 16 year old selves that one day we would be putting them on at our shops 25th birthday knees-up - we would have laughed in your face! Unfortunately, just a few months ago Animal the lead singer was attacked in an unprovoked attack and was slashed in the throat and had to undergo emergency life saving surgery. However, being the fighter & professional that he is he performed for us and we really think it was the best we have ever seen them.
Animal with Sharon pre show
Gig in full flow