A small record store in Salt Lake City that sells vinyls and has managed to survive 40 years despite records long ago being eclipsed by CDs and streaming music is starting a new chapter as the owner hands the business over to his son.
Stinson opened the store in 1978 with just $3,000 and his personal inventory of about 60,000 records. He said it gave him focus after he served in Vietnam, and helped him overcome heavy drinking and smoking habits.
In the 1980s, he feared he would have to close the store as CDs started being sold everywhere and interest in records waned.
But, the store experienced a revival in the 2000s when vinyl records started making a comeback and has held steady since.
The store was featured in the Travel Channel’s list of eight must-see American record stores in 2017, cementing its reputation as a Salt Lake City fixture.
He estimates that he has bought and sold about 500,000 records in his 40 years, but he’s held on to the first record he ever bought: Santo and Johnny’s 1959 recording of “Sleepwalk.”
Stinson remains a steadfast believer in the beauty of a real vinyl record. He has 10,000 records in his garage and juke box filled with old rock n’ roll songs he grew up with. Jazz music is his current favorite.
“The people who hate vinyl don’t understand it at all,” Stinson said. “First, you get to own something. If you have whatever it is you put on your phone, you don’t really own anything.”
He added: “But the No. 1 reason is how they sound. If you have half-decent equipment, records sound so much more real it’s unbelievable.”
Stinson loves interacting with customers and talking music but says he and his wife want to travel and see the world. He’s losing his vision and doesn’t want to wait too long, he said. They’re planning to go to Europe, Alaska and Disney World.
“I want to do that before I go too blind,” he said. “As long as I can still see enough, then I want to go on these trips. . . .I never left the United States except to go to Vietnam. And that was not a vacation!”