Local favorites Josey Records and Spinster Records will expand in 2017, but not into locations in DFW. Josey has already opened its second location in Kansas City, Missouri. On March 18, they will open a third location in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Oak Cliff-based Spinster is joining them sometime this summer.
“We’ve strategically chosen Kansas City and Tulsa because they are cities with deep musical histories with scenes that we were excited to support and be a part of,” Josey’s Luke Sardello says. He’s been digging through crates of vinyl in Kansas City for the past 20 years. “It has a rich history in jazz and punk and that’s translated to a selection of great records.”
But why Tulsa? “Tulsa is known for its blues rock scene and indeed has its own sound attributed to it,” Sardello says. “The city has also embraced and invested heavily into its music culture with the Woody Guthrie Center and the Dylan Archive.” Josey's store will be in the Pearl District while Spinster's will be in Brady Arts.
If you’re wondering if there’s room for both stores, they’re pretty different in their approaches to selling records. Josey’s Farmers Branch location has become known as a haven for crate diggers and also has a fairly large selection of new releases across all genres. The smaller-sized Spinster, down the street from the Bishop Arts District, has an almost even amount of new and used vinyl and is a place you’re more likely to visit simply to hang out. Spinster owner David Grover says the Tulsa location of Spinster will be a little bigger than its Oak Cliff location. It will be two stories tall, but the cozy, relaxed vibe will be the same as the Dallas store.
Grover spent years playing in bands, deejaying and selling audio equipment in Los Angeles before he got into selling records in Dallas. “For me, I need different projects so after two or three years, if I didn’t stay in the same place, I’ll destroy it,” he says with a laugh. “So I’m like a shark.”
Ten years ago, people were scared all records stores were about to become extinct. Vinyl has since enjoyed a resurgence, but critics are wondering if it’s reached its peak. The continual flow of money into record shop cash registers suggest it hasn’t. “It’s not going away,” Grover says. “I’ve got 7-year-olds buying records. They’re into it.”
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Sardello also has no concerns that vinyl is on its way out. “I think it’s a testament to the format that despite how easy it is to get music now that vinyl has continued to flourish and indeed grow at a double digit rate over the past decade,” he says. “It should also be noted that the majority of recorded music is not available in the digital format and vinyl is the only way to experience more music than any one person could ever consume.”
“I think people are getting tired [of staring] at screens for their music,” Grover says. “What happens is when you’re listening, downloading, getting interrupted by social media and messages, it’s kind of like work. Even if you’re not working, you’re socially keeping up. Pulling up a record or going to a record store has nothing to do with work. It has everything to do with talking, relaxing, touching something, listening.”
There’s a special appeal to towns like Tulsa and Kansas City for record buyers, as compared to Los Angeles, Chicago or New York. “These mid-tier cities, I think they’re very attractive,” Grover says. “Moving to a Tulsa or Oklahoma City or Lawrence or St. Louis or Dallas, you can still buy a house for $200,000 to $300,000. If you get a good job, that money goes far and when you’re in a city that has a major airport, you can fly anywhere.”
There is friendly and healthy competition between stores here in DFW. With Spinster and Josey both opening up in Tulsa, that looks to continue in a positive way. “I think we’ll both do really good,” Grover says.