A while ago, I was reading a forum thread about why record stores keep closing. The majority of commenters posited that it was either Amazon killing them off or that physical media was dead and gone. But among the “hear hear” for the majority, there were a few anecdotal stories of local stores that were doing well and those voices were defiant. They made the point that a well-run record shop is a prize to the community, nearly on par with a library, as they both serve the artistic needs of a town.
I am lucky to have a very robust music store in my general area, with two locations that constantly have new stock to browse through. My downtown used to have a used CD store, which closed, then another opened, with a half-hearted selection, then closed. Recently, another music store has opened, which I have visited occasionally and each time, I do find something to buy when there. That’s a pretty good sign. Their CD selection was relatively slim, but always had interesting items.
So after reading a lot of these posts about how your local store is to be treasured and valued, because honestly, they do have it rough, I decided to stop by my local shop after work to browse around and maybe throw some money. When I got there, I saw they had greatly expanded their CD section, which was good for me. I ended up picking out a few albums. As I was browsing the CDs, I was reminded of one of the sub-topics discussed in the forum. If a store’s inventory becomes stagnant, the store is not going to make it. They must have fresh new inventory to attract return customers, and there needs to be enough diversity of existing inventory to capture new customers. It’s a difficult balance to keep.
While considering that, it dawned on me that I could help this store in more ways than just buying from them, I could sell to them and increase the quality of their inventory (I’m actually a modest person). On one of my other blogs, I do comparisons of different CD masterings, which necessitates duplication. I have a few duplicates in my library from that side project. As I paid for my new CDs, I asked the owner where she sourced her CDs from. She replied that it was just people selling their collections. So I told her I would bring in my dupes for her to evaluate.
Today, I took them in. Probably about 80 CDs in a large canvas grocery bag. She pulled out the first handful and flipped through them. I said, take what you want, skip what you don’t, I won’t be offended. After the first handful, she said, this is a very good start. So I left her to see the rest and browsed the CD racks.
Shortly, she calls to me, “I’ll take all of it for $80.” I said, there’s nothing in there you don’t want? I’m thinking, you really want 3 copies of Van Halen, two copies of Heartbeat City and that other unknown stuff? She said there was some stuff she didn’t recognize, but that was fine. The price was more or less a dollar a disc, which is actually much more than I expected. I would expect a buck for the well-known stuff and maybe 50 cents for the unknown or hard-to-sell stuff. So we had a deal. I walked out with $80 (Well, I bought a $3 CD anyway) and an empty bag. I said I hope they move quickly for you and she said it wouldn’t be a problem, there was a lot of great music there. Intentional or not, it made me feel good about my collection.
And I do hope they sell. The prices at that shop are usually $3-5 for a used CD – a fair price, so she has the opportunity to make a few hundred in profit if she can sell them. And I couldn’t have made a dollar a disc on EBay with all the effort of photographing, posting, mailing and the materials and postage. It should be a win-win for everyone, and I supported a local business in the process.
It was a good day.