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New owner finds her groove at Royal Cat Records

'This is a dream come true,' says new owner of Royal Cat Records
Vandenboom outside of Royal Cat Records. She has been in the music industry for over 15 years and owning a record store is part of her next chapter.

Royal Cat Records has a new owner who has been in the music industry for over 15 years.

New owner Sarah VandenBoom previously worked at HMV for 11 years and Sunrise Records at Stone Road Mall for five years.

“My mother came from the previous HMV company, called Mister Sound, right out of high school. She was the assistant manager of HMV when it first opened in ‘86, it was the year I was born. So I was raised in a music background,” said VandenBoom.

Her aunt was manager at HMV for 26 years.

Sadly, VandenBoom’s mother passed away in 2006. 

“This has kind of been a legacy that I’ve wanted to continue for our family and the love of music that we have,” said VandenBoom.

The song Brian Wilson by the Barenaked Ladies was played by her mother often. VandenBoom said the song is one of her inspirations and she still plays it nearly every morning.

Owning a record shop has been part of her life plan. After HMV went bankrupt she wanted to connect back with the music community.

All of the records came with the sale as a turnkey business.

Bryan Munn and his wife Kara were the previous owners who opened Royal Cat Records on Macdonell Street six years ago. They also own Sweet! an ice cream and candy shop on Carden Street.

VandenBoom said she will keep Kara close as a friend and mentor.

The name is going to remain, the only things that will change are extended hours, a bigger social media presence, DJ nights and live shows at the shop.

“For me it’s about getting music to the people,” said VandenBoom.

Before she became owner of Royal Cat Records, she was a customer. 

“I was in the downtown scene in my 20s. As soon as I could go out and see the local shows and before that even. I’ve been going to concerts my whole life,” she said.

She said she has always been into the local Guelph music scene.

“That’s very important to me, making sure the local music is heard.”

VandenBoom’s music taste changes with her mood. Her first love was R&B but more recently has been listening to folk rock.

Sage Motel by the Monophonics is a record she has been spinning recently. It’s a funk, jazz, soul fusion album. “Beautiful pick me up, nice Sunday morning album,” she said.

When customers come in with a specific record in mind and it isn’t on the shelves, VandenBoom can order it in for them. She started making a list of records as of last week.

“This is a dream come true,” she said as a woman who owns an independent record store in her home city of Guelph.


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Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
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