Local record stores benefit from day of live music and exclusive deals | St. Louis Public Radio

Local record stores benefit from day of live music and exclusive deals

Apr 17, 2015

Two iconic St. Louis record stores born two years apart -- Vintage Vinyl and Euclid Records -- are entering middle age finding renewed purpose in an international celebration of selling music.

For Euclid Records owner Joe Schwab Record Store Day highlights the fundamental advantage of shopping locally.

“We offer knowledge, and I’m not talking about Euclid Records I’m talking about independent record stores. We do it because we love the music,” he said.

Record Store Day began in 2007 as a way to ensure local independent record stores could continue competing against the rapid growth of digital music sales and “big box stores” like Best Buy and Target. Over 1200 stores in the US and 1000 more worldwide hold Record Store Days each year. Participating stores offer exclusive releases, special deals, and often hold in-store performances. Representatives of both Vintage Vinyl in the Delmar Loop and Euclid Records in Webster Groves say the event helps maintain the stores local music connoisseurs love.

Euclid Records owner Joe Schwab
Credit Willis Ryder Arnold l St. Louis Public Radio

“It’s by far the busiest day of our year, far busier than any day leading up to December 25th,” said Vintage Vinyl owner Tom Ray. “It allows us to continue paying medical on our full time employees.”

Ray says many musicians have charged independent stores with carrying on the tradition of maintaining well-informed, helpful shops.

The event benefits Euclid records as well. According to Schwab, Euclid managed to stay afloat sometimes based off internet sales and the vinyl-focused mail order community. Vintage Vinyl has also profited from developing an online customer base. Yet, recent years have produced new business for Euclid’s brick and mortar store.

“We’ve seen the trend of ‘walk in’ rise over the past six or seven years and a big part of that is record store day,” said Schwab.

Tom "Papa" Ray, live during a DJ set in England
Credit Rob Blackham l Courtesy of Tom Ray

Like Schwab, Ray’s passion for music keeps him in the business. 

“We were always committed to being the record store for the intelligent music listener in St. Louis,” said Ray. “And we were committed not only to serving that community but to celebrate and advocate for St. Louis as one of the great foundation music cities of our country.”

Jason Potter of Bruiser Queen says local record stores are invaluable.

"They function as the music community's cornerstone. They're where knowledge, opinions, advice, and oral histories are passed along,"  said Potter.

Potter taught himself drums using cassettes purchased at Vintage Vinyl's Granite City location when it was still in business.  

Independent record stores continue to help the band grow.

"When we're on tour and roll into any new town, the first place we stop to find instant friends is the record shop," said Potter.

Both Vintage Vinyl and Euclid Records plan to continue their annual participation in the event. 

Top Local Sellers

Vintage Vinyl:

1. Pokey LaFarge

2. Bruiser Queen

3. Greek Fire

4. Beth Bombara

5. Bunnygrunt

Euclid Records:

1. Sleepy Kitty

2. Pokey LaFarge

3. John Hardy and the Public

4. The Feed

5. The Biblebelt Sinners