record store montreal

Montreal is fining record stores for staying open later than 5pm

It's safe to assume that most people who operate small businesses, especially ones that cater to niche markets such as vinyl aficionados, are not exactly rolling in the dough.

Especially in Montreal, where some indie record store owners are currently facing thousands of dollars in fines from the Quebec government for what seems like a very silly reason.

Provincial authorities slapped four record stores in Mile End with around $2,900 in fines each for staying open later than their usual hours on a day in April of this year.

The date in question? April 13, also known as Record Store Day, which is meant to serve as an international celebration of — and show of support for — independent record stores.

Montreal's Phonopolis, La Rama, Death of Vinyl and Sonorama just received their tickets from the incident in the mail this month.

Rules in Quebec state that the latest any commercial establishment (save for pharmacies and supermarkets) can stay open on a weekday is 9 p.m. On a weekend, like when Record Store Day took place, they have to close by 5 p.m.

The vinyl retailers have been trying to find a way around having to pay the fines, since the law does have exemptions for businesses in touristy areas, as well as those that deal in art or antiques.

The four stores could, ostensibly, fall under some or all of these umbrellas, as shops like bookstores often do.

The owners said in a statement and call for help titled "Small Business Prosecution in the Mile End" that they feel the government's actions are "suspicious to say the least," and target businesses "that are trying to provide platforms for independent creatives at essentially zero-profit."

There has been a lot of recent concern about gentrification in Mile End , which has historically been a hub for musicians and other artists.

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