Bucking the Trend, a Record Store Launches in Deep Ellum

With CD World's closing, Dallas' independently owned record store scene looks as bleak as ever. Or does it?

"I survived in Fort Worth with a following of bedroom DJs—and that's pretty much it," he says with a confident shrug. "Fort Worth doesn't have what Dallas has. Dallas has nightlife and a knowledge of this type of music."

Guereca, a DJ who performs around the region under his Jason X moniker, sees his store's dance specialty as a benefit, and he has a point. Because he doesn't have to follow the Top 40 market, he won't have to waste money promoting albums forced upon him by record labels to a crowd of walk-in buyers. Instead, Guereca anticipates that the bulk of his consumers will be regular customers: DJs who want to feel like they're a part of a community and who want to have a place where they can talk about the latest underground and rare releases with others who share their knowledge.

"Dance music right now is kind of like hip-hop in the '80s," Guereca explains. "It's groundbreaking, and it's really good, but it's largely underground."

Jason Guereca's just-opened specialty record store aims to succeed as other,more established records stores are failing.
Brian Harkin
Jason Guereca's just-opened specialty record store aims to succeed as other,more established records stores are failing.

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Bill's Records

1317 S. Lamar St.
Dallas, TX 75215

Category: Music Venues

Region: Oak Cliff & South Dallas

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The Pete Best Band performs Friday afternoon at Bill's Records.

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Like Wisener and Schoder before him, Guereca says he's entered the Dallas record store scene because music is his passion. But he's also fairly cautious. He signed a two-year lease, but was able to agree with his landlord on a buy-out clause 12 months in.

"I know the volatile market," he says. "I know that, right now, it's hard to own a small business. And I know that, for our customers, buying this stuff is a luxury. When times get tough, we're the first thing that gets cut out."

But, for now, he's choosing to stay optimistic on his prospect, just as any new business owner should. "Since we opened here, the whole area [of Deep Ellum] has been bugging out over us," Guereca says. "The owner of Moda came over and was like, 'Are you kidding me? We need this!'"

That encouragement—plus the 40,000 still-packed records, the digital download kiosks still scheduled to be installed in his store, and the disc jockey hardware that he hopes will be in stock by Christmas shopping time—is going a long way toward Guereca's peaceful state of mind. And even though, just like at Bill's Records, there wasn't a soul but Guereca and his manager within Remix Records' walls on Saturday night, he's looking forward to what the future will bring.

"With our personal touch," he says, "this business can go a long way."

For his sake—and for the dire sakes of his contemporaries around town—he better hope so.

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