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Every Friday, as soon as I got my wages, I was down to Bruce's Record Shop like a shot. The Reform Street shop opened in December 1974. I've already put up 2 posts on Bruce's, when the time Rod Stewart appeared (Click on August to view my earlier posts). I can also remember the time when most, if not all of Dundee's record shops banned the Sex Pistols album when it first came out, but Bruce's had improvised a huge sign in their round shop window stating proudly that they had the album in stock and on sale. I think the record sold out that same day! Goodness knows how many albums I ended up buying from there in total but this is the bag design I brought them home in. Bet you didn't know their famous slogan - I FOUND IT AT BRUCE'S - was an anagram of - OBTAIN FUTURE DISC..!!

Three branches, one on Rose Street, one on Princes Street, and later a third one off the West End. The Princes Street one sold records on the ground floor, and T-shirts, posters and other merchandise down in the basement. Remembered for its bright red carrier bags claiming "I found it at Bruce's". All three branches closed c1982. Comment: dn784533 45cat forum

Alan Horn Postcard Records
​Used to hang out at the Glasgow branch ​.
The Local Record Shop Ian Rankin
(Nov 24, 2012) Liriaz said:First taken circa 78 by older siblings. Is it a rogue memory, or was there a little box on the wall with hammer? "Thieving little fingers broken"?

(March 23, 2015) Oh yes,never went anywhere else,great memories. Comment: Adam Archibald
The only good record shop in Clydebank in my lifetime was Bruces, with its smart red and black bags (which I've still got a couple of in in my mum and dads attic). In an empire of blandness, it was packed with goodies - bands I'd never heard of at the time but got into purely coz I saw thier albums in Bruces racks or heard them on the sound system - Blue Oyster Cult, U2 (remember when they were good?) Hawkwind, The Slits and Vivian Stanshaw etc. I bought my first album by The Doors from that shop - the rock dude behind the counter saying "Great album son!" in a way nobody would anymore in an easy to access anything culture. I also used to put in pre orders for those fabby picture sleeve singles from The Jam.

It was the one and only shop in Clydebank I could spend ages in and find something new, or accidently meet friends from school. It was a real tragedy when it closed down, and on its last day I bought a Tangerine Dream mirror which was part of the shop fitting. Happy memories, and I bet there's not a single place in Clyedbank or within a seven mile radius where you can buy CULTISAURUS ERECTUS on CD, never mind vinyl. Comment: Toby Dammit

I was manager of the Clydebank branch of Bruce's, until it's closure. Very well supported by the local populace, proud to have been an honorary Bankie!
Grant Whitehead

Worked in Clydebank shop 1978. Fond memories.
David McNicoll

I worked in Bruce's Clydebank in 1979. My manager was Grant (see above) and Brian McQuarrie and Ronnie McKeown were my co-workers. Grant was great to work for and I have lots of great memories of my time there. Being the youngest, I would get sent on errands occasionally. I remember going on a train to Edinburgh to collect a stylus for a customer. Different times.
Liam McElhinney

The fall and rise of Scotland's Bruce

WITH A loan of £1,500 from an aunt and uncle, Bruce Findlay and his brother Brian set up their first record shop in Falkirk eleven years ago. In that time the Findlays have experienced the excitement of rapid expansion, the ego -boosting knowledge that Bruce's record shops were welcomed as an un- conventional phenomenon in Scottish retailing - and the humiliation of near bankruptcy followed by take-over. But looking back, Bruce Findlay believes their business helped to change the face of record retailing in Scotland. Not only have other independents grown up in the trendsetting Bruce's image ("and they are as good as us, or better in some cases," Findlay candidly admits); but manufacturers have been forced to abandon the traditional idea that Scotland is a somnolent backwater where retailers and record buyers are content to have minimal service and late deliveries. They weren't exactly born in a masterbag, but the Findlay brothers were involved in record retailing from an early age. Their mother (quite a personality and well-known in the business as Miss Shearer) worked in the early Fifties in a radio retailers, Angus MacDougall & Co., in Falkirk and her sons used to help behind the counter. Brian decided to do an apprenticeship in radio electronics and stay with MacDougalls, while Bruce left school at the earliest opportunity and set off to gain experience of record retailing and other aspects of the music business in various places, including a spell in London. Bruce's senior by seven years, Brian had been at MacDougalls' for 15 years, rising to become general decided to strike out on his own. The brothers became partners in the first shop, called Findlay's, in Falkirk. "It became a sort of cult place," Bruce recalls, "but what we did wasn't slick or hypocritical, or calculated. We had a colourful, hand -painted shop because we couldn't afford to have professional decorators and shopfitters; and we sold the records we liked." Those records happened to be right in the van of underground taste. The good citizens of Falkirk found that they could still buy the Alexander Brothers, but their offspring could for the first time easily buy Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and all the psychedelia their senses could embrace. The Findlays also brought in imports, and began to attract customers from a wide area, although the shop was small and out of the town centre. Early efforts were crowned by a piece in IT, telling Scottish punters that Findlay's was the place to go. Go they did, even from the big cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Findlays decided to open a second shop in Rose Street, Edinburgh. Brian was to stay at Falkirk and Bruce to run the new shop, so it was called Bruce's. With the new name went the slogan "I found it at Bruce's"; the red bags carrying that legend became minor status symbols for Scottish record buyers. Expansion was rapid. "It seemed logical to expand, but expansion became a bit of a monster." The beginning of all the Bruce's shops' troubles was cut pricing. "My philosophy was that it was a capitalistic thing; only the big chains AN INDUSTRY which has London as its nerve centre needs constant reminders that business is often lively and profitable elsewhere. The Bruce's Scottish dealer chain set out to do just that. Co -director Bruce Findlay talks here to Terri Anderson. could afford to do it, and make even more money out of doing it. Anyway, I believed it was a passing fad, and that the customers would stay with full -price indies to have the service they could give. I was wrong. "The underground died - or rather, became the overground with those records available everywhere - and cut pricing went on. Virgin came to Scotland, and more young dealers (younger than ourselves by then) opened shops. Our rate of growth really slowed down, and we had to join in with the price -cutting because we saw our business being whittled away." The Findlays then opened two big, sleek upmarket shops in Dundee and Edinburgh, which were based on ideas gleaned from the sophisticated Lido Musique in Paris. The idea was to prove that a defeat. Bruce's was price -cutting, but it had joined in late, and foundthat it was merely selling to the samenumber of regular customers but at a 10 per cent discount. Profitsdropped dramatically. By the time Guinness stepped in tobuy a controlling interest, and cut the number of shops from nine backto five ("Seeing the Rose Street shopclose nearly broke my heart")bankruptcy was imminent and theFindlays were more than ready togive up the attempt to carry all thefinancial responsibility themselves. "Guinness act like bankers for us, and they are very good; they let usget on with running the company but obviously they control the pursestrings." One thing Bruce then felt free todo was follow up an idea he hadbeen cherishing for some time - tostart a record label. "I resented thefact that there was no street musicand had been delighted when punkcame along. It was not going to cost much just to put out one record -our first release by the Valves cost less than £1,000, and it sold well."More releases followed, but aspublicity and enthusiasm apparentlymounted sales mysteriously waned. The reason, Bruce discovered, wasthat the independent punk product BRUCE FINDLAY (left) and his brother Brian cut a record at the Edinburghparty to launch the Zoom label deal with Arista, watched by two admiringfans, and by Willie, guitarist of the Zoom band The Skids. Scottish record shop would be as good, and as well thought of as any in London, Paris, Rome or any major swinging city. Bruce's had fought hard to earn Scottish retailers service equal to that offered to dealers in London and the prosperous South of England. "I know that pride and excitement in having a record first, buying it the day it is released - I'm a vinyl junkie myself, and I wanted our record fans to have the same chance as Londoners, not to be told the latest Moodies or Floyd or whatever was on order and they would have to wait four or five days." Arguments, persuasion, downright rudeness, and finally action (a reciprocal arrangement between Findlays and Musicland in London whereby the London dealer bought in extra stock on release date and immediately despatched it to Bruce's, greatly to the annoyance of other Scottish retailers and the embarrasment of record reps north of the border) won for Scotland equal terms with the south. However, if there were victories, there was looming the one big explosion was quickly dying, anddealers (himself included, he admits)became very wary of taking bigstocks. "A lot of garbage wascoming out from those who thought there was a quick buck to be made. So the more astute men in the punkbusiness got deals with recordcompanies. They were accused ofselling out, but I don't think it wasthat." Bruce began to consider placinghis Zoom label with a biggercompany for distribution. He turnedto Arista. All the Zoom bands, includingNight Shift, the Questions and MikeHeron, are local to Bruce's HQ. Heis constantly surprised at the qualityof bands who come to his "tiny"label rather than trying their luckdown South straight away. Zoom isstaying a "local" label for themoment, because Bruce has learnedhis lesson from the miniature SouthSea Bubble which the retail businessso nearly became. "If I expand I will do so (at least on the business side)with my eyes open. On the creativeside I am, of course, still inuncharted territory. But I like that."


William Ness
27 Oct 2023 at 03:27
Loved Bruce's,got some wierd n wonderful vinyls from Kirkcaldy shop and you could pre-order almost any album you wanted even if the staff had never heard of it! Brilliant shop
Dave Harwood
03 Jan 2024 at 03:44
I found this announcement in the 'Strathearn Herald' dated 9th December 1972: “NOW OPEN * BRUCE'S RECORD SHOP at 233 HIGH STREET, PERTH. Tel. 29478.”
Dave Harwood
25 Jan 2024 at 09:21
I found this article in the 'Kilmarnock Standard' dated 19th September 1980:
“POP GOES THE RECORD SHOP: BUSINESS was not booming for Bruce's Record Shop in King Street, Kilmarnock. In fact the profit margin was so low the shop was forced to close after only 15 months. And managing director of Bruce's Records, Mr Brian Findlay, has put the blame on the present record recession and Kilmarnock’s high unemployment. He said: “We looked at the overall picture in Kilmarnock and it seemed to be singularly badly hit by unemployment.”



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