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New Records Store Aims to Create Social Atmosphere for Music Lovers

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A new store in downtown Kamloops is seeking to give music lovers a unique social experience.

Barnacle Records officially opened its doors on Saturday, and the owners are already encouraged by the amount of people that have come through the doors.

In the age of digital downloads and the ability to buy records and songs in the comfort of one’s home, the new records store wants to create a gathering place for music enthusiasts around the Interior.

“So far it’s going pretty well,” said co-owner Ronan McGrath. “Rather than just spending your music passion reading articles online, talking on forums and going to shows, which are notoriously anti-social, we wanted to make a space that we could exchange ideas at the same time as enjoying and learning about music.”

The project has been in the works for over three and a half years and grew from a simple personal collection and passion for music.

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McGrath and co-owner Jessie Kobylanski grew their personal collections and started selling at pop up sales and records fairs, and they built up their stock and enough capital to open a new store.

“What’s special about what we have here is that it is diverse. You don’t have to be a specific type of person to call this place your community record store,” McGrath said. “It’s really community-oriented. It’s really unifying to come here and browse through records rather than browse through the iTunes music shop.”

The pair wants to make sure that they keep costs low and affordable and continue to expand their collection, so anyone can be able to indulge in buying vinyl. Getting their hands on certain records was not easy at first, but through trial and error and creating their own network, they continue to expand on the different albums they offer.

“It’s a learning curve. It’s not just plug and play. It took a while to sort out all the details of how we’re going to get certain things because not everything is immediately available,” McGrath said. “We want our price point to be low. That is important to us too. Vinyl does not have to be a rich person’s game.”

Ronan McGrath (left) and Jessie Kobylanski (right) opened Barnacle Records on 3rd Avenue. (Photo Credit:

Eventually, they also plan on opening a listening area with chairs and tables so customers can have a space to listen to music, be social, and not be pressured into buying anything.

“I think that is a very modern approach to how retail works. Traditionally it’s been no loitering, you’re either buying or getting out,” McGrath said. “Considering a big part of what makes this operation sensible in the slightest is that people want community, they want to get away from the computer, so having a space to come and sit and have someone who might share your interest is really important.”

As for the name, it was born from a joke while trying to find a space to house the new store.

They were looking at the old Arnica Arts Centre in a spacious basement area in the heart of downtown and the old sign was still hanging.

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“It had the old Arnica sign over the top of it still, and we were looking at it one time with my dad, he looked up at the sign and said ‘this would be super easy, you wouldn’t even need to pay anyone to change your sign. Just write a B on one side and an L on the other side and you get Barnacal,’” McGrath said with a laugh.

The name stuck, even though they moved into a different space.

“From just a totally meaningless exposure to the word, it just caught on,” McGrath said. “Those are the best kind of things I think, it just happened naturally. This came of a joke, of something meaningless, and turned into something meaningful.”

Barnacle Records is open Tuesday through Saturday and is located at 290 3rd Avenue.









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