Across the street from the marquee lights announcing musicians coming to the D&R Theatre, familiar faces from music’s past look out from posters in a storefront. Kurt Cobain, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and others stare soulfully across I Street, beckoning passersby into Boomtown Records, one of downtown Aberdeen’s newest businesses.
The entrance to Boomtown Records is up the short steps toward Wiitamaki Jewelry Store — just take a right instead of a left in their shared hallway.
Set to officially open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Boomtown is full of vinyl, CD’s, movies and even stereo equipment. The inventory is mostly vinyl, many costing $3 each, but the rare albums are between $8 and $50. There is also a $1 bin for those looking for classics on the cheap. Music art nearly covers the walls, including spray painted vinyl with iconic images, such as Jim Morrison and the Beatles crossing Abbey Road.
In a second room, a couple tables and a couch, with a listening station to hear vinyl before buying, are set up. A concession stand stocked with candy and soda lies on the other end, beside a stage ready for acoustic concerts.
The grand opening features performances by Caleb Peinado from 1 to 2 p.m., Nolan Garret from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and Brian James from 4 to 6 p.m. Store owner Troy Richart hopes to regularly get local musicians to perform acoustic shows on Saturdays.
The location, which is right across from D&R Theatre, lured Richart, who is a self-described “music fanatic.” He often travels around the country to see special acts. Just last year, the whole family went to Nashville for a week, seeing shows at the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame Music Benefit. The family doesn’t always travel very far to see concerts.
“We have VIP membership to the D&R so we’re always over here seeing shows. It’s also how I got a lot of these,” he said, motioning to the rows of shelves behind the main register full of signed memorabilia: from Blackberry Smoke to Kenny Loggins to Foreigner.
But the story of how the record store gained so much inventory begins around three years ago. Richart’s son, Devon Hayes, became interested in listening to the greats. Richart brought out his old vinyl LP’s from the early ‘80s on. This bonding time grew into a quest to find more rare records, including the coveted “butcher cover” of the “Yesterday and Today” Beatles album. The two began searching yard, estate and online sales obsessively looking for the rarities.
“After about two to three years of this we ended up with around 8,000 LP’s, boxes of tour programs, old Rolling Stone magazines and tons of other music memorabilia, along with all the autographed memorabilia that I accumulated over the last few years to go with a few pieces I had from years ago,” Richart wrote in an email.
Although Richart is keeping about two boxes full of around 500 records for himself, the store inventory is a lot bigger than what’s currently on the shelves. At one point there were 3,000 vinyl records in bins in his family’s living room, which were then moved to storage.
After several payments for the storage unit, he and his wife felt it was time to do something different with the collection. They decided to open a record store, on top of their other business that cleans up foreclosed properties and each of their full-time jobs.
Richart says he hopes this shop can eventually pay for itself and be a small step toward reviving downtown.
“I just want to see this place thrive and this store keep going,” he said before smiling. “Who knows? Maybe it will be successful enough that I can just stay here all day.”
Alexandra Kocik: 360-537-3928 or firstname.lastname@example.org and @DW_AKocik on Twitter