New 80s-inspired vinyl and coffee shop in Baldock will help you remember a life before mobile phones

PUBLISHED: 11:28 18 November 2017

Left to right: Jason Kitchener, Susan Kitchener and Abigail Skinner. Picture Jason Kitchener

Left to right: Jason Kitchener, Susan Kitchener and Abigail Skinner. Picture Jason Kitchener


Baldock will see the resurrection of the ’80s today in the form of a new vinyl store and coffee lounge – with a twist.

Stylus is the passion project of Jason Kitchener from the town, who wants to return to the simplicity of the 80s by making his coffee bar a phone-free zone. When entering the coffee-bar you will be asked to lock away your phone in a pouch.

Jason partnered up with his wife Susan and their friend and neighbour Abigail Skinner to come up with the idea – sparked by a Liam Gallagher concert – as they thought it might help to regenerate the town.

Jason told the Comet: “Vinyl and records have always been my passion. Believe it or not, working in a record store is something I always wanted to do as a kid.

“The opportunity came up where we could look around a building in the High Street, so I had a look around and thought with vinyl becoming popular again it would be a good opportunity to bring vinyl into a current environment, and that’s what I did.

“We actually entered into negotiations to lease the property last December, which took seven months for us to agree terms. For the last few months we have been doing some work in there to get the right feel to the place.

“I got the idea for the phone-free aspect from when I went to a Noel Gallagher concert, where they took the phones off of you and they’ve got these individual pouches and they lock your phone away, and it made it so much better because you’re there with the crowd and not lost in your phone.

“You don’t realise how much you do rely on your phone.

“When I came back from the concert I looked up the company that does it. I thought it would be a really good addition to the record shop – why not take customers back to the 80s with the records, as well as recreating the era when there were no mobile phones.

“When Yondr agreed to do a partnership with us we thought it would be a great little gimmick that would attract customers who want to listen to music, enjoy peoples company and a good cup of coffee.”

American company Yondr – which usually rents pouches out for closed events and sometimes court cases – has agreed a partnership with Stylus where they will supply them with the cases.

While the coffee lounge will be a mobile phone free zone, there will be places in the shop where people can use technology.

Stylus is located on Baldock High Street and will be opening at about midday today.

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