Vintage Vinyl Makes USA Today's "10 Best Record Stores" List

Categories: Fiesta!

vintage-vinyl.jpg
Mabel Suen
We hope USA Today noticed Vintage Vinyl's recent milestone.

St. Louis is among the nation's top cities in many respects, with courteous drivers, literacy and dog guardianship all coming to mind. But now our independent music shops are getting a little attention too, with Vintage Vinyl landing a spot on USA Today's list "The 10 Best Record Stores in the USA."

In a story posted May 20, USA Today scribe Leif Pettersen writes about traversing the country in search of havens for vinyl purists. The publication selected Vintage Vinyl as one of these music paradises, citing its alluring bins of records and variety of genres as part of the store's excellence.

See also:
- Slideshow: Record Store Day 2014
- Mayor Slay Curates a DJ Set For Vintage Vinyl's 33 1/3 Anniversary: What's On His Playlist?

Here's what USA Today says about St. Louis' beloved record store in the Delmar Loop:

The decidedly punk rock business story of Tom Ray and Lew Prince starts at a stand at the Soulard Farmer's Market in the late '70s, progresses to two different shops riddled with building code violations, then on to the St. Louis landmark and legitimate tourist destination they run today. The bins of new and used and deeply discounted music and videos has been known to transform casual browsers into collectors in just one visit. All the genres are well represented from classic country and early hip hop to jazz, new age and electronica.

"Whatever the source or medium, it always feels great to be recognized as one of the 'best' in the particular business that you operate in," says Jim Utz, who's in charge of marketing and promotions for Vintage Vinyl.

While the USA Today honor is a big one for Vintage Vinyl, Utz is quick to point out that St. Louis is on the music map because of the region's many independent record shops and serious vinyl collectors.

"St. Louis has always been an amazing town for music fans, and the number of really good and diverse record stores here is a result of that," he tells RFT Music. "The fact that St. Louis has so many great local stores that each do their own unique thing is great. It shows that music isn't disposable to people here."

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Jon Gitchoff
Vintage Vinyl on Record Store Day 2014

Vintage Vinyl is in good company on USA Today's list, with revered shops such as Amoeba in Los Angeles, Wuxtry Records in Athens, Georgia, and Long in the Tooth in Philadelphia also making the grade. Utz, a long-time album collector and music connoisseur, says he has visited about half of the stores on the publication's list and has a few ideas about where USA Today should stop by next.

"I've spent multiple mortgage payments in both Reckless Records and Waterloo Records over the years," Utz says. "Other stores around the country that I would have added to the list would include Shake It Records in Cincinnati, Grimey's in Nashville, Luna Records in Indianapolis and End of an Ear in Austin. What I like about these stores and most record stores, in general, is that if I ask around, I will learn something new about music and likely walk out with a new favorite record."

This isn't the first time USA Today has recognized Vintage Vinyl, though. In March, the newspaper included the record shop in its travel guide to visiting popular "hipster" hangouts in St. Louis. Hipster or mainstream, Vintage Vinyl has something for everybody.

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Chrissy Wilmes
Just a regular day at Vintage Vinyl for Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips (left) and Jim Utz.

"We've always considered ourself a 'neighborhood' record store and have always tried to curate the stock at Vintage Vinyl to best service the people in our neighborhood and the surrounding ones," Utz says. "We have customers who might be called 'hipsters' -- though we'd never call anyone a hipster -- but our customer base has as many sweet seniors shopping our gospel section as angsty, mohawked youth perusing the punk section. In most cases our customers shop all the different music genres in the store."

See also: Why Shopping at Local Record Stores on Black Friday Is Awesome

That must be how the shop, which celebrated its 33 1/3rd anniversary last fall, nabs such a variety of in-store entertainment and exclusive collectibles.

"The Delmar Loop has always been a pretty diverse area, and we've tried to be a cultural town hall for all the different people to coexist and even share experiences through music," Utz says.

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23 comments
Pia Martin
Pia Martin

I grew up in U. City and remember when the site was the Magic Lantern Theater. It was also the where Rocky Horror Picture Show played for years. Congratulations Vintage Vinyl. It was only a matter of time. Love to shop there.

Susan Wolters
Susan Wolters

The Record Exchange in south St. Louis is good too.

Renee Spalding
Renee Spalding

Dude....I loved peaches...I do not remember what street they were on but I do remember the crates I used to hold my Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith akbums...

Wesley Mirage
Wesley Mirage

One of the last great bastions of record stores. I can actually pity this one, as opposed to other chain stores I stopped buying $20 CD's from a decade ago.

vintagevinylSTL
vintagevinylSTL

@pmalecek and you & your band sold quite a few records here back in the day as well, the tapes!!! & CDs were always best sellers here!

paparay
paparay

(Speaking as a more-than-invested-commenter) Yes, Kangoids:  Euclid IS a wonderful store---Joe Schwab runs a great place. In fact, as he will readily attest, after doing a star turn as an employee of V.V., he purchased his first store(in the CWE) from us around '86. Certainly those of Webster Groves & points suburban will find it enticing and perhaps---given their yen--- not requiring a trip to the Loop.

Fact is, as Jim Utz mentioned, there are other stores I think absolutely as worthy as mine to have been on that list---Grimeys in Nashville, Shake It in Cincinnati, Luna in Indianapolis---I know their owners, and feel a great kinship and respect for their musical omniscience. I LOVE hanging with these folks---also Criminal in Atlanta, Radioactive Records in South Florida, Sonic Boom in Seattle; all kindred spirits and retail warriors.

kangoids
kangoids topcommenter

Euclid is at least as good.

Becky Ganz
Becky Ganz

I think 35 years ago there was a Vintage Vinyle by the old Kroger store in Granite City. I had a bumper sticker: on one of my old Peaches album crates. Anybody else remember those

Brian Wade
Brian Wade

No, it was on Delmar where HSB is now, in the block by the Tivoli.

Becky Ganz
Becky Ganz

the original vintage vinyl was right here in Granite City wasn't it

kangoids
kangoids topcommenter

@paparay  Yep, Joe got his start with you guys.

His shop is just as good...but not better!

BTW, thanks for everything you guys have done for the Loop and the St. Louis area in general. Great job. I know you were just trying to stay in business, but you have made a difference in many lives.

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