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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why Shopping at Local Record Stores on Black Friday Is Awesome

Posted By on Tue, Nov 26, 2013 at 3:58 AM

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Special Releases

Just like its Record Store Day counterpart, Black Friday brings a ton of exclusive or limited-release albums and re-releases. While the list of collectable albums is long, local shops often have to wait until they unpack the boxes to find out what they'll stock.

"We order everything available and often don't find out exactly what we are getting until close to Black Friday due to allocations, shortages, etc. from labels and distributors," says Jim Utz, who's in charge of marketing and promotions for Vintage Vinyl.

Still, what's available is pretty cool.

"I am looking forward to the Vince Guaraldi Trio's Linus and Lucy seven-inch," Naliborski says. "How cool is it to have an exclusive Snoopy vinyl during the holiday season?!"

The special releases also present a way to tick off a few names on your music-lover gift list.

"Black Friday releases have been a great boom for Vintage Vinyl. It is nice to have releases that people can't get at a mall and have to visit an independent record store to purchase," Utz says. "Music has always been a great last-minute stocking stuffer, so Black Friday releases help put indie record stores in people's minds as a gift option that isn't so 'last minute.'"

Employee Knowledge

Local record stores have sales and exclusive items, but what will really push a discerning shopper to choose them over, say, the bargain bin at Best Buy? Easy: knowledge. The owners and employees at St. Louis indie shops are music aficionados with long histories of following bands, collecting vinyl and performing themselves. They've got insight that a sixteen-year-old kid at a national store hasn't yet attained, and they're happy to introduce you to outstanding local acts or debate the finer points of the David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar versions of Van Halen.

"Our biggest edge, as with all indie-music stores, is our employees' knowledge of the product lines," Naliborski says. "You can't get that kind of knowledge and help at the big-box stores.

Of course, loving what you do has a few consequences -- especially when you accumulate that which you sell. We can't help but wonder what our record-store owners are anxious to grab for their personal vinyl collections.

"Stuff that comes in -- new stuff, old stuff -- part of the reason we're doing what were doing is because we love it," says Hendrickson. "At the same time, my life would be a lot simpler if I didn't collect at all. But it wouldn't be nearly as fun."


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