This global pandemic has really hit every corner of the world. This crisis has hit our vinyl record industry hard. Brick and mortar shops, the backbone of the vinyl record experience, and a communal sonic gathering place have been shuttered. Thousands of shops across the globe have been closed due to this virus. Although online sales are commonplace these days, it seems that vinyl record shops have to get creative on the daily to survive. Just six, short weeks ago, these were places you went to hang, meet your friends, and discover new music. Now, without being able to set foot in these shops we hold so dearly to us, record store owners are facing troubled times. How are they going to make it? This is the record game in the time of COVID-19. Flea Market Funk spoke with shops around the world about how they’re doing things differently, how much they are digging into their own collections, and what else they’re up to besides records. We start the series Records In The Time of Corona with a conversation with Hudson Valley Vinyl’s Chris Reisman.
How has the global pandemic affected your day to day record store?
We had to close the physical location. It’s been almost 6 weeks.
What are you doing differently to get sales?
We’ve started slowly listing our better inventory on Discogs and IG. Everyone is at home stuck on their computers now, but it doesn’t make up for the lost $5-10 casual walk-in sales.
You always have a huge presence online (IG specifically), can you explain if you’re doing anything differently, and how selling online mostly has helped or hurt you now?
I started doing online auctions and set sales 15 years ago. Coming from the e-commerce world it was easy to transition back. But I opened the shop to NOT sell online anymore. This world needs brick and mortar establishments. Sales are fine for now but we are still paying rent on a shop that remains shuttered.
Are people still getting rid of collections at this time?
I am receiving calls here and there but it’s been pretty dead. I think it’s a little irresponsible to enter somebody’s home at this point. Unless it was 10,000 jazz records I can’t picture myself going on a house call. If the once-in-a-lifetime collection fell in my lap I would probably show up in a Hazmat suit.
Is this downtime at the physical shop forcing you to dig through your own collection more?
Totally! I’ve actually gotten rid of a few things and dusted off some stuff I haven’t spun in years. But more importantly, I am cooking every day.
What gems have you revisited in your own collection?
I’ve been listening to whole discographies of legends in order. Things I normally wouldn’t throw on all the time. Joe Harriott, Jimmy Heath, etc. The last 3 weeks I’ve listened to all my Miles, Ayler, Coltrane and Beatles records.
Are you doing anything else non-record related during this time?
Like I said earlier, cooking. A little bit of baking (although going to the gross-ery store for ingredients to make cupcakes for myself seems a little unnecessary). I’ve been jogging 3 miles every other day; that is when I don’t cramp up.
What has this global pandemic shown you about the record game?
Sellers still overprice. Buyers still overpay. But hey! We are all doing ok I guess huh?
Any tips for record heads that are going nuts by not being able to go to a record store?
Take the time to discover music you may dig. Then when the shops reopen you’ll have that much more to look for!!
Last comments, whatever you want.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Wear a mask and gloves. Continue to social distance. Sell me your Sun Ra records. My IG is @hvvinyl 🙂
Check out Hudson Valley Vinyl here.