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Spotlight on Kristin Poch of The Beatnik Bus: Selling Vinyl On The Move

Lauren Marinigh | August 27, 2015

Growing up, Kristin Poch spent weekends with her father scouring thrift stores, garage sales and the local record stores for quality vinyl. Her father was collecting an inventory to pursue his dream of opening a record store, and after three decades he had a collection of over 10,000 records and was ready to open up shop. Sadly, Kristin’s father suffered from a massive heart attack four years ago which forced him into retirement. His dream of opening his own record shop was now just a distant memory… or was it?

After graduating from university, Kristin was struggling finding meaningful work, and her family was trying to find something to do with the massive record collection Kristin’s father had accumulated. After gathering inspiration from mobile shops that she came across in other countries, she had the idea to create a mobile record shop. “That’s when it hit me; this would be a perfect style of business for a record store,” Kristin shared. “Its unique alternative nature marries perfectly with the product. Once the idea struck, I went straight into planning the business, logistics and buying a vehicle.”

The Beatnik Bus’s vintage interior is not only stocked with records, but with a turntable and a couple of seats so customers can listen to the records all in one spot. Despite the hype around this new mobile shop in Calgary, mobile retail is still a relatively new concept, causing challenges and roadblocks for Kristin along the way. She and two other mobile vendors have been working with the city to create bylaws to accommodate them and future mobile retailers through a pilot project and have been seeing success through the process.

Despite the hurdles Kristin has had to overcome as a mobile shop, she had some advice for other entrepreneurs wishing to start their own mobile business:

  1. Make sure you know what bylaws are and are not in place for mobile businesses in your area.
  2. Know where your target market is and partner with local businesses and events to reach that market.
  3. If you live in an area that has distinct seasons, have a plan for the winter.
  4. Just do it!

Overall starting her own business has been a rewarding venture for Kristin. Not only has she done work in her city to help pave the way for future mobile retailers, but she also gets to talk music with people on a regular basis—something that she has grown up being passionate about with her father. “The nostalgia of my product and the deep connection people have with certain artists, albums or songs allows me to connect with people on such a unique level,” Kristin explains. “The conversations I have and the passion I see in people makes everything worthwhile.”

Check out some media coverage of Kristin and The Beatnik Bus:
CBC News: Beatnik Bus plans to cruise Calgary’s streets as vinyl record shop
Metro News Canada: Calgary to see launch of Beatnik Bus, city’s first mobile record store
CBC News: Purchased off the back of a truck? Calgary retailers attempt to mobilize

Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada