Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

It’s the vinyl countdown for Record Store Day

Local stores braced for crush of customers


Chris Hupe

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 2, 2021

Audiophiles will once again gather together to celebrate music on Record Store Day.

Last year’s usual one-day celebration was divided into three Record Store Day drops to avoid generating big crowds. The national RSD organization is taking a similar approach again this year with two drops, one on June 12 and the other on July 17.

All local Wooden Nickel stores, including Neat Neat Neat Records on South Calhoun Street, will open their doors at 10 a.m. on both days, according to owner Bob Roets. A limited amount of people will be allowed in at any given time in order to follow safety protocols.

Like last year, the national organization is not allowing live performances or food at this year’s events. Once again, we will miss out on homemade cookies made by Bob’s wife Cindy, but there will still be hundreds of limited edition products available for purchase.

Getting into the Groove

Some of the highlights of June 12 include a Janis Joplin Pearl picture disc, Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules and Heaven and Hell picture discs, Def Leppard’s Live in Oxford, Genesis’ Live at Knebworth, a 7-inch single from Haim featuring Taylor Swift, and The Doors’ Morrison Hotel sessions.

On July 17, releases include Gorillaz’s G Collection, Jerry Garcia Band’s Jerry Garcia Band (30th Anniversary Edition), three volumes of Missing Links from The Monkees, and Heavy Metal Live from Sammy Hagar and The Circle.

This is just a sample of what will be available on these dates. But because of ongoing production issues, there is no guarantee that all titles will be available on the release date.

“Demand has gone beyond the capacity that manufacturers can produce,” Bob Roets said in an interview with Whatzup. “There are roughly 1.2 million pieces being produced for these events alone that have taken priority over catalog items because they are dated.”

Manufacturers are running at maximum capacity to try to fill the orders, but it’s possible that some may not be ready for their proposed dates.

“Any titles that don’t make the second date will likely be held for the Black Friday sale,” Roets said.

Dropping the Needle

Vinyl has always been the focus of Record Store Day. Last year, the medium surpassed sales of CDs for the first time since the 1980s, and vinyl continues to grow. Roets estimates that about 60 percent of the products he will sell this year will be vinyl.

“Some new releases are even being issued on cassette now for the first time in many years,” Roets said.

Record Store Day has a few items in mind for those collectors who are look for unique products to accumulate.

Mötley Crüe fans will be delighted to find out that Vince Neil and company are releasing a 40th Anniversary Cassette Box Set on June 12. The set contains the band’s first five albums packaged together for the first time.

July 17 offers the opportunity for Pearl Jam fans to pick up “Alive” on cassette as well as on 12-inch vinyl, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of the iconic single.

Spinning Up the Business

Roets had to close his stores for a few months last year, leaving him to wonder what the rest of the year would hold for his business. Fortunately, re-energized customers came back quickly.

With many people stuck at home looking for entertainment options, interest in vinyl seemed to grow exponentially.

“We were really excited that so many people decided to make collecting vinyl a new hobby, especially the young people,” Roets said. “They were at home with lots of time on their hands, so we were able to sell a record number of turntables once we reopened.”

At Neat Neat Neat Records, a store Roets and his son Christopher bought in late 2019, hopes are high that the Record Store Day drops will expose customers to the reimagining of the store layout. They also hope it will improve the customer experience.

A wall of stereo equipment including turntables, receivers, and speakers has been added. The assortment of T-shirts, posters, and accessories has been expanded, and the number of product bins have been increased.

The Roetses are even gearing up to bring live music back to the Neat Neat Neat Records stage with a performance by Hot Sauce Brass Band on June 19.

As a way of engaging customers in the absence of food and entertainment, Roets said he is adding a discount and great giveaways.

Customers who stop by any Wooden Nickel or Neat Neat Neat Records location before June 12 can pick up a coupon for 10 percent off their Record Store Day purchases. For big collectors, that could turn into huge savings.

Also during the June 12 Record Store Day drop, stop by any or all of the stores and enter a drawing to win a $200 Wooden Nickel gift certificate, an Audio Technica turntable, or a Led Zeppelin IV Deluxe Box Set.

Nationwide, things are getting back to normal. Public events are being planned, families are getting together again, and masks are disappearing. What hasn’t changed is one of the things that helped a lot of us get through the past year: the power of music.

Record Store Day is an opportunity to remember everything music has done for us and celebrate at a local business that has served the community for more than three decades. If there is one thing the pandemic should have taught us, it’s to not take that for granted.

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