It's not often a heartwarming story emerges from Sunderland, but hats off to Frankie And The Heartstrings for having the guts to stand by their convictions and set up a record shop.
Their motives may not be entirely altruistic - the prime reason for the decision was to have an outlet in the town which could stock their second album - but the outcome, which is also benefiting other local bands as well as the community generally and some out-of-town acts too, is entirely laudable. While Pop Recs was only supposed to be a temporary enterprise, it's been such a success that it's now likely to remain open until at least February.
Incidentally, you'll have to forgive me for sniggering at the mention of the fact that the unit used to be home to the city's tourist office, Frankie Francis admitting "There's no call for it any more"...
(Thanks to Dave for the link.)