Webster Records Shutters After 58 Years

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Diana Benanti
After 58 years of slinging wax and compact discs, Webster Records is closing its doors on January 31.

Owner Jennifer Graves Bellm has been the proprietor for five years, and she said the current climate of the music industry is the impetus for closing the small shop that's been operating since 1953. The lease is up at the end of the month and she's looking to pursue other opportunities. "I grew up in Memphis and fell in love with the classic record store there -- Poplar Tunes. Webster Records had the same vibe and I wanted to keep that alive as long as I could," said Bellm. She added that it was one of the oldest continuously operating record stores west of the Mississippi.

Bill Wondracek has been behind the counter for the last ten years and says he'll miss the clientele most of all. He remembers working with Dorothy Gleason, who opened Webster Records in 1953 with her husband Roy. "Dorothy was a dear heart, she worked 50 years on the floor. She knew more about music than anyone I'd ever met, and she'd forgotten more about music than anyone I would ever know, god rest her," Wondracek says with a laugh. Wondracek says it was ironic that Dorothy's wake was the same date as national Record Store Day 2011.

"People aren't buying as much. What we sell is not what you need to live, these are fun things but if everything you make gets spent on your ulitily bills and keep your car gassed up, hey, you're not buying a lot of records or CDs," said Wondracek.

Wondracek can attest to the vinyl renaissance, but Webster Records has always specialized in jazz and classical -- their core customer base is still folks who grew up on Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie. He said he can't give a classical record away, but the "kids" are snapping up any rock LP that comes through the store -- and apparently the kids these days can't get enough of Black Sabbath.

"I can't keep it in the store. The kids are buying vinyl, our older clientele are buying CDs. Vinyl is new to them if they grew up on downloads and CDs. This is something analog, it's totally retro. The kids are loving it, but I can't sell classical vinyl."

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Everything in the store is currently 30 percent off, and the inventory will be further discounted as January 31 looms closer. Wondracek advises that collectors come early and often, because as the prices get better, the selection will get worse. He's quick to note that the original sign and the classic Nipper the Dog aren't for sale.

"We have the best customers in the world here. Just like the Cardinals have the greatest fans, we have greatest customers in St. Louis, just great customers. People who love music, you know, that's what a little store is all about," Wondracek says.



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32 comments
Roller shutters
Roller shutters

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Roller shutters

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Roller shutters

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Roller shutters
Roller shutters

i just want to say about this topic This is good record by the Webster's of 58 years old shutters it is not a easy job it is very difficult to maintain your record till now from the 58 years old...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

i just want to say about this topic This is good record by the Webster's of 58 years old shutters it is not a easy job it is very difficult to maintain your record till now from the 58 years old...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

i just want to say about this topic This is good record by the Webster's of 58 years old shutters it is not a easy job it is very difficult to maintain your record till now from the 58 years old...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

i just want to say about this topic This is good record by the Webster's of 58 years old shutters it is not a easy job it is very difficult to maintain your record till now from the 58 years old...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

i just want to say about this topic This is good record by the Webster's of 58 years old shutters it is not a easy job it is very difficult to maintain your record till now from the 58 years old...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

i just want to say about this topic This is good record by the Webster's of 58 years old shutters it is not a easy job it is very difficult to maintain your record till now from the 58 years old...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

i just want to say about this topic This is good record by the Webster's of 58 years old shutters it is not a easy job it is very difficult to maintain your record till now from the 58 years old...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

Hi friends,I want to say about this topic that if you go any other shop in this city you cannot see this type of shutters witch are 58 years old and fresh till now i am a big fan of this shop...I just love it...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

Hi friends,I want to say about this topic that if you go any other shop in this city you cannot see this type of shutters witch are 58 years old and fresh till now i am a big fan of this shop...I just love it...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

Hi friends,I want to say about this topic that if you go any other shop in this city you cannot see this type of shutters witch are 58 years old and fresh till now i am a big fan of this shop...I just love it...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

Hi friends,I want to say about this topic that if you go any other shop in this city you cannot see this type of shutters witch are 58 years old and fresh till now i am a big fan of this shop...I just love it...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

Hi friends,I want to say about this topic that if you go any other shop in this city you cannot see this type of shutters witch are 58 years old and fresh till now i am a big fan of this shop...I just love it...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

Hi friends,I want to say about this topic that if you go any other shop in this city you cannot see this type of shutters witch are 58 years old and fresh till now i am a big fan of this shop...I just love it...

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

Hi friends....I just want to share some review of mine about this topic that He remembers working with Dorothy Gleason, who opened Webster Records in 1953 with her husband Roy

Roller shutters
Roller shutters

Hi friends....I just want to share some review of mine about this topic that He remembers working with Dorothy Gleason, who opened Webster Records in 1953 with her husband Roy

Shop Shutters
Shop Shutters

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VivlianWozz
VivlianWozz

Another restaurant cliaimed to use freshmozz arella cheese,where it's dishes were actually made with economycheddar.the "fresh pasta"advertieshed on another meau tumed out to befrozen.--Agedate. ℃⊙M--a nice and free placefor younger women and older men,or older women and younger men,to interact witheach other.

Hank
Hank

The way they treated my wife and children ran me out of there several years ago and I will mNoy miss them because I took my business down the street.

John Wallace
John Wallace

This piece is incorrect when it claims Webster Records has been at 117 W Lockwood for 58 years. From 1953-to-1958 it was located on Lockwood at Big Bend in Old Orchard.  It moved to to 124 W. Lockwood in Old Webster in 1958.  It was not until 1988 that the store moved to 117 W. Lockwood, which had been the old Velvet Freeze store for over 30 years.  

 

your mom's mom
your mom's mom

Businesses who don't adapt to the times are destined to fail.

Mary
Mary

Oh no!  Webster Records has been there since I became aware of classical music, back in 1960!  NOW where shall I go?  What a loss to all of St. Louis!

Pancake Master
Pancake Master

DANG!  I love Webster Records.  Visits have been far too infrequent.  I'll definitely be in before the end of the month.

diana benanti
diana benanti

are you saying i should rethink my mail order fax machine business? shit. 

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