How a vinyl record seller in rural Sask. runs a six-figure business from his basement
BELLVUE -- Web designer Mark Poppen became an entrepreneur in 2008 when he moved from Holland to the small community of Bellevue, Sask., south of Prince Albert.
About 120 people live in the hamlet. He moved to Saskatchewan to be close to his wife’s parents and family who live in the Bellevue area.
The main industry in the area is farming, however, Poppen was looking to do something in his field.
“I ended up with a box of records next to my desk and half of them I wouldn’t listen to so I thought well maybe I could sell these online,” Poppen said.
To his surprise, they sold, and that prompted Poppen to build a website and start his own record store, Funky Moose Records.
“In 2015, when I started it, I literally said ‘if I could sell a couple handfuls of records, I’d be happy,’ but now we’re doing several, several handfuls,” Poppen said.
Five years later, Funky Moose Records is incorporated and boasts a six-figure income.
Poppen has four employees - one of them is dedicated to searching for used records to sell.
“Used records is kind of a thing of its own. Because you have to buy from several people, several collections and Jeremy, who's in charge of that, now likes to go to flea markets and auction sales,” said Poppen.
The company also sells new records, a trend that Poppen’s wife Jennifer said is increasing as many Indie artists without record labels contact them to help promote their vinyl releases to Funky Moose customers.
Many mainstream artists are also releasing music on vinyl. Mark Poppen said the number of new record players being sold at stores like Walmart is an indication that playing records is growing in popularity.
Funky Moose ships out orders weekly to places in North America and some far away countries like England and Australia.
The company still operates out of Poppen’s basement in Bellevue. Poppen and his employees travel often to Prince Albert to ship orders to customers. The UPS store also acts as a pick-up depot for local customers.
Poppen said he hopes the vinyl trend continues.
Over the last five years, Poppens said they’ve shipped thousands of records.
“CD sales are going down and vinyl sales are going up,” Jennifer said.