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No one looking to make a quick buck decides to open a used record store, but there are true believers who are on a mission to keep vinyl alive. And that’s not all. In addition to thousands of vinyl treasures, some of these stores offer such collateral pleasures as turntables, 78s, 45s, cassettes, posters, books and even movies on VHS. You never know what you’ll find. As Jim Blasee, co-owner of Shake It Records in Cincinnati likes to say, “That’s the fun part.”

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Academy Records & CDs: New York City

Academy Records, Brooklyn, NYC

Academy Records

Opened: 2003
Philosophy: “There is something really special about a record store we want to keep from getting lost in,” says Cory Feierman, manager and record buyer. “A record store should be an exciting place to discover something completely new or something on the fringe of your interest; a place [where] you get to physically look at something,” he says.
Specialty: “We’re pretty well-rounded,” says Feierman. “We’re the biggest used record store in Brooklyn. Our focus is on the used; rock, jazz, blues, soul, dance music, house, techno and a lot of disco.”
Now playing: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, Bandana
Celebrity sightings: Jimmy Page, David Crosby, Parker Posey

Amoeba Music: San Francisco (also LA)

Amoeba Records, San Francisco

Amoeba Records

Opened: 1990
Philosophy: “We try to have as much of everything as possible—new and used—to sell at a reasonable price,” says co-owner Joe Goldmark. “People feel they have a better shot at getting what they want here than anywhere else.”
Specialty: “We are like a big trading post; if you don’t have money to buy records, bring in something to trade. We specialize in customer service.”
Now playing:  Donald Byrd, Slow Drag
Celebrity sightings: Jimmy Page, Mark Duplass, Dr. Demento

Easy Street Records: Seattle

Easy Street Records

Easy Street Records

Opened: 1988
Philosophy: At a time when Seattle has gentrified and it may seem as if the city has lost a little bit of its soul, Easy Street is “a tether that keeps you connected to Seattle’s roots and legacy,” says owner Matt Vaughan. “Our motto is, ‘Vinyl is the end result.’ It’s a package that tells the artist’s story. There is a place for streaming music, but we’re here for people who get turned on by songs they’ve heard on Pandora and want to support the artist. We serve them the full meal.”
Specialty: Easy Street may be the only record store to open at 7am to accommodate patrons of the in-store full-service café (try the Woody Guthrie Farmer’s Omelet). “But we’re still a record store through and through and always will be,” Vaughan emphasizes. “Alternative rock and hip hop and local music from the past and present is and always has been our specialty.”
Now playing: The Faces, Snakes and Ladders / The Best of Faces
Celebrity sightings: Bo Derek, Danny DeVito, Tim Robbins, Patton Oswalt, Baseball Hall of Famer Randy Johnson

Electric Fetus: Minneapolis

Electric Fetus, Minneapolis

Electric Fetus

Opened: 1968
Philosophy: “Since day one we have connected with our community,” says Stephanie Covart Meyerring, president and second generation co-owner, along with husband, Aaron. “This is a gathering place to experience and learn about music and to find unique things.”
Specialty: “We’re best known for the funky environment, vast music selection, hard-to-find titles and unique in-store performances,” Meyerring says.
Now playing: Tame Impala
Celebrity sightings: Twin Cities native Prince was a regular patron and was in the store a few days before he died, making Electric Fetus a must for Prince fans from around the world. Ringo Starr wore an Electric Fetus T-shirt to the Grammys in 2010.

End of all Music: Oxford, MS

End of All Music

End of All Music

Opened: 2012
Philosophy: “We’re an arts-driven town and we felt Oxford could sustain a record store,” says owner David Swider. “We recently moved downtown to historic Oxford Square. We act as the center of the music community and support as many local artists and venues as we can. We think it’s important to have ownership, and believe that people should buy the albums they want to be able to pull off their shelf and play if the internet goes down. Our motto is when you walk into our store, you know we’re not f***ing around.”
Specialty: “We are very inclusive,” Swider says. “We cover just about every genre you can imagine with an emphasis on Oxford-based North Mississippi soul and country blues label Fat Possum Records. The store was named for an epitaph on Junior Kimbrough’s gravestone: ‘Junior Kimbrough is the beginning and end of all music.’”
Now playing: Ty Segall, First Taste
Celebrity sightings: Lenny Kaye (curator of Nuggets garage rock anthologies)

Grimey’s New and Pre-Loved MusicNashville

Grimey's, Cincinnati


Opened: 1999
Philosophy: “It’s a wonderful thing to be involved with a record store in Nashville,” says manager Anna Lundy. “So many people in our world are involved in music, whether it’s customers whose parents are songwriters or who have brothers and sisters who are session players,” she says. “We all love sharing music and have created a safe and welcoming space for people to come together and enjoy recorded and sometimes live music.”
Specialty: Country-western, Americana and bluegrass
Now playing: Yoko Ono, Some Time in New York City
Celebrity sightings: Robert Plant, John Prine

Herzog Music: Cincinnati

Herzog Music, Cincinnati

Herzog Music

Opened: 2017
Philosophy: Many record stores carry Hank Williams’ Lovesick Blues and I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, but Herzog Music is located in the historic Cincinnati building where Williams actually recorded these iconic hits. Think the Sun Records space, but with vintage vinyl for sale. “Our core mission is to celebrate the musical and cultural past and make sure the torch is passed to the next generation,” says director of operations Bill Furbee. “It’s one thing for customers in their 30s, 40s or older to appreciate the cultural significance of what happened in this space, but it’s an entirely different story to hear a roomful of toddlers singing and dancing to Pete Seeger songs.”
Specialty: Local and regional artists with a focus on the independent Cincinnati-based label King Records.
Now playing: The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
Celebrity sightings: Marty Stuart, Steve Earle, Pokey LaFarge, George Clinton

Reckless Records: Chicago

Reckless Records

Reckless Records

Opened: 1989
Philosophy:  There is a scene in the cult classic film High Fidelity in which record store clerk Jack Black berates a customer for wanting to buy his daughter Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Reckless Records has a location in the same boho neighborhood as the fictional Championship Vinyl, though Black’s verbal abuse would not fly at Reckless, says manager Melissa Grubbs. “We don’t think anyone should be embarrassed of anything they want. We carry as many things as we can to cater to all different kinds of people. It’s not like Jack Black; we spent many years trying to dispel that myth.”
Specialty: “We’re lucky we exist in such a music-loving city,” says Grubbs. “We have a varied staff who are interested in all different kinds of music whether it be old soul, Brazilian hip hop or garage rock.”
Now playing: The F***ing Champs, V
Celebrity sightings: Chance the Rapper, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Fred Schneider (The B-52s), Mac McCaughan (Superchunk)


Shake It Records: Cincinnati

shaket it record store

Shake It Records

Opened: 1999, “The same year Napster started,” co-owner Jim Blasé says with a laugh. “Napster’s gone and we’re still around.”
Philosophy: “Great music, art and literature are all connected. We try to do our little part to keep them alive,” says Blasé.
Specialty: “Our deep catalog. Sometimes all you can get from other stores is an artist’s greatest hits, but  sometimes their greatest tunes are on the fourth track on side two,” he says. “We try to get as much as we can get on artists ranging from Alice Cooper to Bootsy Collins to Thelonious Monk. One guy from Mary J. Blige’s band bought straight-edge punk records. You never know what people are going to be into.”
Now playing: Nick Lowe, Nick the Knife
Celebrity sightings: Glenn Danzig, Bob Pollard (Guided by Voices)


Waterloo Records: Austin

Waterloo Record Store

Waterloo Records, Austin, Texas, September 2017. | Copyright 2017 Spencer Selvidge for Waterloo Records,

Opened: 1982
Philosophy: “Our slogan is ‘Where music still matters,’” says owner John T. Kunz. “We’ve always said Austin deserves a record store that reflected the vibrant music community here. We just wanted to create a record store that we would want to hang out in ourselves. We try to make it a meeting place musically with two to three live performances a week. We get a lot of music tourists and it’s always great to ask them what’s going on in their part of the world. We like to listen [to their recommendations] as much as we like to share our recommendations.”
Specialty: All genres of Texas music, as well as imports; “The best from around the corner and around the world,” Kunz says.
Now playing: Bjork, Debut
Celebrity sightings: Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Richard Linklater

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Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson

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