We could be big in Turkmenistan... and Dundee - Kevin Buckle

International customers are finally starting to return to Avalanche though we are yet to see many Europeans and they often prove to be our best customers.

Saturday, 2nd October 2021, 7:00 am
The statue of ten Akha-Teke horses in the centre Turkmenistan capital Ashgabad. Not many Avalanche customers hail from that part of the world.

Parents in with their teenage children are the perfect Avalanche customers. The parents will buy things for themselves, the teenagers will buy things for themselves and then often as they run out of money the parents buy even more for their kids on the basis they see many things they can’t get back home.

Often they will return for a second time unable to resist a second shop before they leave. However, American customers are not far behind and we have started to see more of those.

US customers are always keen to tell you as they put their purchases on the counter that “you can’t buy these in New York” or “you can’t get these in California”.

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We do have hard to find vinyl and exclusive T-shirts including our range from Butcher Billy whose prints and cards are also big sellers. It is also understandable that our prints and cards from Henni Photo and Dark Edinburgh haven’t made it over the pond too.

However sometimes what they mean is they can’t get this range of stuff in record shops back home and I explain that not every UK shop is like Avalanche and we made a conscious decision some time ago to try to be a little different while still clearly being a record shop.

Anyway an American customer came in a couple of weeks ago and bought over £200 of shirts. He clearly knows his music and we had a good chat. He was buying for his wife and daughter too.

He came back a couple of hours later and I was expecting him to say his family didn’t like the shirts or they were the wrong size. Instead he grinned and said “I didn’t buy enough shirts”.

They all then proceeded to pick out more things and as I was totting up the second haul which matched the first I asked where they were from. “We’re from Seattle” he said. "This shop would do great there.”

Home to Nirvana and the legendary Sub Pop label among many others I took that as a great compliment.

Another lady was patiently waiting behind my US shoppers picking more and more things off the wall as she waited. She bought an Avalanche shirt and bag and a wide range of CDs by Scottish bands.

She explained that she lived overseas and had a couple of compilation CDs by Scottish bands which she played in her car all the time so much so that her driver knew all the songs off by heart.

My interest was already piqued when she mentioned she had a driver and when she explained all of the things she had bought would be impossible to find where she lived I asked where she was from.

“I live in Turkmenistan “she said “my husband has a job in gas and oil”.

As these things often seem to come in threes I eagerly awaited our next customer. It was actually a group of people made up of a couple of families. Everybody bought something and as they left one of the adults said “you should open a shop in Dundee. ”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​