How London Road record store got into the groove following lockdown

Sugarbush Records Owner Markus Holler

One of the biggest lockdown success stories in Tunbridge Wells is that of vinyl record store Sugarbush Records after owner Markus Holler’s online business rocketed during Covid…

By Sarah Bond

It’s cheering to hear of a Tunbridge Wells success story, and on top of the town centre burger boom reported in our Food pages, we’re celebrating the popularity of the new vinyl record exchange shop in London Road – Sugarbush Records.

Owner Markus Holler had been successfully buying and selling vinyl online full time for 30 years, but it was long his dream to open an actual record shop.

And it was during the pandemic, when he was playing and selling music on The Forum terrace every Saturday, that he spotted the ideal premises on the main road opposite when it came on to the market. So come spring of this year, he opened up, and it has been doing a roaring trade ever since.


Sugarbush Records


The vintage singles and albums plus CDs and tapes are very keenly priced, at only a couple of pounds each, or buy five and get a sixth free. Markus mans the music on the turntable, and there are retro images on the walls, including a wonderful illustration by his father.

On our visit, the shop is buzzing with enthusiastic buyers. It’s small wonder, because the town has badly missed having a good second-hand record store since the popular Vinyl Revolution pop-up in Camden Road opened in 2016, then closed to move to Brighton.

Explaining the history of his vinyl adventure, Marcus tells the Times:

“Sugarbush Records started back in the late 80s as a record label for my own band, Silent Blue. Then in the early 90s I started selling second-hand records because I needed to make some money!

“Luckily, people were off-loading their vinyl record collections in large numbers to replace them with CDs, but there was a hardcore of people who still like really liked and collected vinyl. There was a huge gap in the market after the record companies stopped pressing discs, so that worked quite well,” he says.

Apart from the appeal of holding a physical record and the authentic sound, you couldn’t beat the amazing album covers and the information inside.

“I spotted the shop when I was selling records outside The Forum, and it was ideal for expanding Sugarbush’s identity. Due to the pandemic, the rents were more affordable, and I needed space for my stock. Now I have two floors of extremely cheap records in between one and two pounds. Plus you meet people, and it’s just more fun,” Markus explains.

“After I opened, I was surprised at just how many people are interested in buying vinyl, and since I’ve had the shop I’ve been getting loads more records coming through the door for me to buy as well.”


As to the most popular artists that people look for, he instantly says:

“Oh, Pink Floyd! I get asked for them loads, much more than any other bands. ‘The Wall’ and ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ are massive albums.

“Then it’s the classics – The Beatles, Bowie, The Stones, Oasis and Stone Roses, plus Queen, of course. And with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’, I could probably sell five copies a day if I could find them. It is one of the biggest selling
albums of all time.”


Sugarbush Records Sign

So who is Markus’s favourite band?

“It’s got to be the Beatles,” he laughs. “I got my first Beatles album when I was about six!”

Sugurbush Records can be found at 2 London Road, with the Tunbridge Wells shop’s website at:


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