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December 11, 2014

A very independent Christmas: Streetlight

It was the closure of the Rundle Street Big Star in 2010 that led Colin Gellard and Mark Collins to open their own music store in the city. We caught up with Colin to talk about Streetlight’s newly independent status.

  • Portrait of Colin: Ben McGee
  • Words: Johnny Von Einem

It was about twenty years ago that Colin Gellard started working at the original Big Star records on Magill Road, which doesn’t seem that long ago, except:


Visit Streetlight for a more enjoyable Christmas shopping experience at Shop 2/15 Vaughan Place, Adelaide in the city’s East End.

“Back then it was more … no internet, no downloading, there was nothing. So if there was a new Nirvana album you’d have hundreds of pre-orders and you’d have a queue at the door in the morning. The whole industry’s changed,” he says.

The halcyon days of queuing outside a store for an album are definitely gone, but there is still a place in the city landscape for a well-stocked record store, so Colin and his business partner, Mark Collins, brought a version of national business Title to Adelaide.

They were allowed an almost free rein to stock whatever they liked, as well as access to the national warehouse, but found that answering to people in another state didn’t allow them the kind of freedom they needed.

“When you’ve got people at head office on the other side of the country making decisions for you, it’s alright for a while, but there comes a time when you want to take complete control and do it exactly your own way, because every shop is different,” Colin explains.

“We felt we knew what was better for our shop.”

As of 1 June this year the duo started trading as Streetlight. The changes haven’t been radical, but they’ve increased their vinyl stock and found more suppliers from Europe and the USA to import from.

The recent surge in popularity of vinyl has given their store a renewed focus, but Colin believes there’s more that they can offer to Adelaide’s music community.

“On Record Store Day we had bands out the front, and that’s something we’ll continue to do. It’s just a different environment than playing in a pub.”

In-store live music was a Big Star tradition that Colin harks back to, and would like to build on with Streetlight.

“Every Wednesday afternoon we’d do an in-store and there was a never-ending queue of people looking to play there.”

Accompanying the popularity of vinyl is the desire for affordable but quality hi-fi equipment for the home, which Colin also hopes to be able to address.

“We sell turntables at the moment, [but they’re] quite expensive and it’s a big investment. There is demand for them, but finding good ones at a good price is a challenge.”

For now, though, you can still choose from their enviable collection of arthouse films, selection of hard-to-find authors and music biographies, or the genre-spanning range of new and old vinyl currently available.

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