Retro specialist Flat 4 sells vintage VW vehicles, parts and ‘50s memorabilia, which have gained cult status in Japan. The Yorkshire-manufactured jukeboxes, the only vinyl jukeboxes still being produced anywhere in the world, will be sold in Flat 4’s showroom in the fashionable Tokyo district of Meguro.
Sound Leisure, which for decades has supplied its range of digital, CD and vinyl jukeboxes to pubs and venues in the UK and internationally, now supplies the majority of its machines to private clients, and has produced more than 100,000 jukeboxes at its Leeds factory since it started out in 1978.
Employing 80 people in Leeds and a further five staff in Nottingham, the business has grown its overseas sales to more than 75% of its total £5m turnover over recent years. The firm’s largest export market is the US, where it recently teamed up with leading audio manufacturer Crosley Radio.
Sound Leisure’s managing director Chris Black said: “It’s really exciting to have gained a foothold in the thriving Japanese market where there is a huge demand among younger consumers for top quality, high-tech ‘retro’ products.
“Flat 4, were finding that the ageing mechanisms of their original ‘50s stock of jukeboxes were not reliable enough for their discerning customers, and they approached us as the leading manufacturer of authentic jukeboxes with all the latest components and features. Japan has all the dynamics of a great market for us going forward.”
He added: “As the one and only business now designing and building vinyl jukeboxes we are in a great position to expand our overseas sales and we’re working with organisations such as the Leeds City Region exporting network ExportExchange to help us to do that in the most effective way.”
Along with businesses such as Taylors of Harrogate, Seabrook Crisps and Huddersfield Town Football Club, Mr Black is one of around 60 ‘patrons’, or experienced exporters, that are part of the growing ExportExchange peer-to-peer advice network.
The scheme’s patrons share first-hand experiences and advice with some of the 90 fledgling exporters that have signed up to the free programme.
ExportExchange is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the Department for International Trade, and a number of private sector export specialists. More information is available at www.ExportExchange.co.uk