How It Works

Volver is run out of my loft in the Dundas West & Sorauren neighborhood of Toronto.
I sell quality records and other wares I find useful, beautiful, or interesting.
It’s an appointment-based shop for locals and in-the-know travelers. I do not ship. You browse online. You pick up in person.
Here’s a breakdown of the process. If you need more info, frequently asked questions and notes on my inventory are below — or, you can return home to scroll through the inventory categories.
If you’re interested in buying vinyl from me, I strongly encourage you to read my Notes On Records at the bottom of this page.
1

The Inventory

All browsing is done online. New Records are added daily at 7PM.  Magazines are added when new issues arrive from the publisher. All other inventory is added at whim and announced through my mailing list.
2

See Something You Like?

Text 416 556 6278 to book a 30 minute arrival window for pick up. I’m extremely flexible so just choose what works best for you. I will confirm and provide you with the exact address.
3

Pick Up

Arrive at the scheduled time and pick up your purchase! I accept cash at the door or you can etransfer at least 30 minutes in advance — just ask for the etransfer address!

FAQ

What’s the address?

Volver is steps from the intersection of Dundas West and Sorauren Avenue in Toronto. Because it’s an appointment-only business, the exact address is provided once you’ve booked an appointment to make a purchase. There is nothing to browse in-person that is not on the site so “drop-ins” are not available.

Are your prices firm?

Yes. New items are priced using Manufacturer’s Suggested Prices. Used items are firm and fair and I do not haggle. If you plan to come in person and offer me an amount that doesn’t match what’s listed on the site, not only will I decline your offer but I’ll walk away and bar you from future commerce for wasting my time. This isn’t Kijiji.

Is it legal to run a store out of a residence?

Volver’s address is in a commercial building zoned for live / work.

Is Volver on social media?

No.

Why does it work this way? Why don’t you ship?

Though I understand the lure of online shopping, I do not like what the online economy has done to local businesses. As a consumer, I appreciate the flavor independently-owned shops bring to a neighborhood — and I miss both the social aspect necessary for in-person commerce and the interaction with knowledgeable merchants.

This hardly seems convenient.

I disagree. True, it’s not as convenient as having something arrive at your door hours after surrendering your credit card info — but it’s more convenient than traditional brick-and-mortar shops as you choose the operating hours for both browsing and pickup.

Also, convenience can be nice, but convenience as a guiding star gave us Netflix and killed independent video stores. Now, trying to find something decent to watch is a soul-sucking experience. Convenience drove the bulk of indie book stores into the ground and gave us Amazon, a trillion dollar company that treats its employees like shit and pays zero taxes. Thank you very much, convenience. (You know what else isn’t convenient? Vinyl records and printed books.)
Why don’t you just open a normal store?

I have managed or owned some of the city’s best-loved stores (Art & Trash Video, Vortex Records, and Good Music). In fact, I worked retail / customer service for almost 35 years, but in 2016 I experienced a TIA (a small stroke) which, though unrelated to owning a shop, caused me to reconsider what was important to me. Owning a store wasn’t at the top of the list so I sold out to a competitor and took time for myself and went travelling.

Eighteen months later, I realized I was bored and going broke and should think about getting back to work. With the exception of some lingering memory issues that still persist, I was fully recovered from my TIA. Did I want to open another store? Landlords, locations, employees, the never-ending cycle of regular hours, and winters in Toronto — no, I did not.
Can I keep all the parts I love about retail — engagement with interesting people; an unparalleled selection; fair prices in and out; exemplary customer service — and do away with all the parts I don’t?
Yes, I can. Welcome to Volver.
What does Volver mean and how do you pronounce it?

Volver is a Spanish word meaning “to return,” “to go back,” or “to do again,” all of which are appropriate for my return to retail. Colloquially it can also mean “to turn or spin around,” or “to turn over,” which of course ties in with records.

In Spain, it’s pronounced bol-behr (bol-βeɾ). To anglicize the pronunciation, you’d say vol-vair, with the emphasis on the second syllable.

I thought it was Volver as in the end of Revolver.

Most people do, but — no, that’s not a word. But it doesn’t matter how you pronounce it.

Notes On Inventory

Though the majority of my business is used vinyl, I do carry a small quantity of other quality new and used items — things I find useful, beautiful, or interesting.
I try to purchase all new items directly from their manufacturer (or publisher, artist-creator, etc) and prefer to not deal with middle-men. This puts more money in their pocket and prioritizes me to them as a customer.
All new items are products I actually use and consider to be the best in their category.
I do my best to source things from ethical companies and do not carry items available from Amazon or that can easily be found elsewhere in Toronto.
All new items come with the manufacturer’s normal warranty.
Used items are usually from my personal collection and are guaranteed to be described accurately on the site. Photos of used products are of the actual item.
Used books are in decent, used shape, with intact covers and binding. New titles are added to the Used Books section Mondays at 3PM.
When I decide to bring in new products, I first announce them on my mailing list (sign up here).
Sometimes I only bring in a product once, whereas other products are seasonal. For instance, I bring in Orps, a cycling-related product, in Spring, Blunt Umbrellas in Spring and Fall. I do this because I don’t want a house full of inventory so prefer things to be pre-sold via the mailing list. Occasionally a product is so niche that I only bring it in once so being on the mailing list is the only way to get one.
Other products are small or popular year-round (inCharge Cables, for instance), so having inventory on-hand is do-able.
Some items are restocked based on the publisher or manufacturer’s schedule. For instance, Magazines are brought in upon publication. Copies go first to customers who pre-ordered and extra copies (if any) are added to my regular inventory. When you purchase a magazine, I will text you when the next issue is coming out and you can let me know if you’d like it. When you say no, I remove you from that text-list until you repurchase or request to be re-added.

Notes On Records

New records are added to the Records page every day at 7PM sharp.
Most of my customers set an alert on their phone to remind them to view the page precisely at 7 (click reload to ensure you see them all).
The first person to text they want an item is the person to get it. Often, records sell within seconds of being posted so it pays to be quick. I do not answer the phone between 6:55 and 7:15 PM because that time is dedicated to answering texts. So, if you want one of today’s records, don’t call — text!
When you say you want something, I take that as a commitment to purchase. If you later change your mind, I again make the record available for others to purchase and I promptly block your phone number, barring you from future commerce. The ban is permanent. No amount of time or effort can get you off the banned list. This means that it’s important that you read the description of the record and look at the pictures before telling me you want something.
All pressings are guaranteed to be properly ID’d with the record’s condition accurately described. If you purchase something from me and find my description inaccurate, you may return it for a full refund. I do not have time to listen to every record I sell, so things are graded visually using a light-box and spot-checked when marks are found. Occasionally, a record can have pressing issues that are not discernible to the eye. If there’s an issue with something you purchased, simply text me and let me know and we’ll arrange a return and refund. I will never knowingly sell a record with an issue without mentioning it or posting a photo of it on that record’s info page.
What is the condition of the records?

Each record is accurately described on its info page. I strive to offer only issue-free records and state any problem clearly on the listing.

I am a very picky record dealer. I do not knowingly sell records with unstated issues and everything I sell is guaranteed. Though I have a professional light-box for viewing records, 99% of my repeat customers do not bother checking the shape of records they’re buying because they trust my grading.
How picky am I? I have sold tens of thousands of records since 2005 and have had less than two dozen returned due to condition. That picky.
Why don’t you use a standard grading system (VG+, etc.)?

In today’s world, those terms are useless. I see things for sale all the time described as “Near mint… except for one skip” or “Cover is VG+ except for a split bottom seam,” etc. As a result, I do not use those terms.

You have a record I want. Can I trade my own records against it?

I am always in the market for quality records and I do offer more in trade than I do in cash — even though I give 50% in cash! In short: I pay 50% of the resale value in cash and another 20% above that amount in trade. So, if you’re selling me a record I plan to sell for $100, you get $50 in cash or $60 in trade.

Some of your records sell very fast. How can I increase my chances of getting titles I want?

  • Add my phone number to your contacts so you can text quickly. 416 556 6278.
  • Check the website daily at 7 PM sharp.
  • Send a brief text indicating your desired title(s) as quickly as possible.For example: “The Cure Kiss Me” or “Coltrane” are great texts. “Hey Lincoln it’s me again. That Mingus looks great and I don’t have it. Can you put it aside for me please?” is way too long. Someone beat you to the record you wanted while you were typing that out.
But how do I know if the record I want is still available?

Sometimes, a record sells so fast that I do not have time to mark it sold before someone else texts me about the same title. (I mark them sold as quickly as possible). Though this is unfortunate, it’s always best to assume the record is still available unless marked Sold. If you message me, “Is record X still available?” someone else could commit to buying the record seconds later — before I’ve had a chance to respond to you — and they would get the record because your asking me if it’s still available is not a commitment on your part. Just text “I’ll take X” and if you’re too late, I’ll let you know.

Why won’t you take “Is record X still available?” as a commitment to buy?

Because the majority of people who ask this question follow up with “Okay, gonna think about it,” or “Thanks — I can’t remember which pressing I have. I’ll get back to you.”

Can you make an exception to your shipping policy?

No.

Don’t you know you could make a lot more money if you shipped?

I do. But I prefer a time-rich life to a money-rich one and post offices are anti-time.

I’m looking for a particular record that is not on your website. Do you have one in the loft or can you let me know the next time you find one?

That is not a service I provide. Believe me, if the record is sufficiently rare, you are not the first person to ask me for it. If I did offer a reserve service, you’d have to be put at the end of the line behind everyone who’s already asked for the same title. Offering such a service would therefore decrease your chance of getting the record.

My current system means absolutely everyone has the same opportunity to purchase my records by checking the site at 7PM each night. New customers will not lose out because of favoritism or lists.

Will you ship or keep an eye out for a particular record if I pay you a premium?

Though many people have suggested this, I have an aversion to any process which exacerbates the imbalance between the haves and have-nots.

Is that a no?

Yes.

I want to buy multiple records. What kind of discount can I get?

My prices are firm and fair. Some of my competitors get discounts on the used records they buy because they offer low-ball prices to sellers because they’re “taking them all”. I pay the same high 50% of resale value for every record I buy regardless of the quantity. Discounting for you is not cost-effective for me.

That’s it!

You’ve made it to the end. Congratulations!