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Valley Vinyl Opens On Main Street

Andy O’Bryan shows one of thousands of records in the wide selection at Valley Vinyl. The store opened this week, but will be closed Thanksgiving Day. O’Bryan reports the store will be different from other record stores because the inventory is all old stock.

By David Howell

WATER VALLEY – A new business opened on Main Street this week that could easily become one of the largest vintage vinyl record shops in the southeast. Valley Vinyl shares space inside the Hendricks Machine Shop building with the Yalobusha Brewing Company and offers a wide selection of new and gently used vinyl records that span five decades of collecting for vinyl enthusiast Dell Clark.
    Yalobusha Brewing Company co-owner Andy O’Bryan partnered with Clark in the endeavor that will ultimately occupy the upstairs portion of the brewery with over 100,000 vintage vinyl records.
    “You can’t find two better things that go together than craft beer and the resurgence of the vinyl music,” O’Bryan said about the combination that will share space as separate businesses.
    And if you think vinyl is old news think again – O’Bryan reports that in the digital age of music, new generations are rediscovering vinyl records, triggering phenomenal surges in album sales that jumped from three million in 2012 to six million in 2013 in the United States.
    “In the digital age, you are not getting anything to hold, nothing to look at,” O’Bryan explains. Collecting albums with the cool covers is akin to a baseball card collection, “You can look at it, smell it and touch it,” O’Bryan explains.
    The driving force in this business is the huge accumulation of albums Clark has acquired in half a century of collecting that includes countless sealed albums along with used records from every genre imaginable. The business opened Monday in a small space in the northeast showroom of the landmark building, but work is scheduled to finish out the upstairs to house the business in early 2015.
“We didn’t want to delay opening the store just because the upstairs wasn’t finished. We will run like this for several months before moving upstairs,” O’Bryan explained. With almost 3,000 square feet in the upstairs portion of the building, the number of albums in stock will jump to 100,000 with another 100,000 available in Clark’s warehouse to keep the shelves stocked.
    “We should be the largest shop in the state of Mississippi if not one of the largest in the United States,” O’Bryan added.
    O’Bryan said he had been looking for an outlet for the upstairs space inside the brewery building when he learned that Clark, who lives in Tunica, was ready to start selling his collection.
    They tested the market in September with a weekend event, Analog Valley, that included brewery tours and albums for sale. The event attracted almost 500 people and helped paved the way for the new business that opened this week.
    “We don’t expect that every day, but we expect it to be a viable business,” O’Bryan said about the customer flow.
    Once the shop is completely stocked, O’Bryan reports a handful of records will be priced in the $500 to $1,000 range, “But those are extremely rare and sought after,” he explained.
  Thousands and thousands of the albums are priced below the $10 mark, while there are some rare jazz and blues records in the $25 to $50 range. With a collection this large, O’Bryan also explains there are many obscure artists in the collection and buyers are encouraged to listen to the records for purchasing. To accommodate this, listening stations are available for albums that aren’t sealed.
   “We look at it as a way to explore and discover new artists. A lot of things here people aren’t going to know because his collection is so random and so varied,” O’Bryan explained.
    Valley Vinyl Store hours are Tuesday – Sunday, 1 to 8 p.m. The brewery tour hours and days will also soon be expanded and will coincide with a couple of days the vinyl shop is open. Currently brewery tours are held on Fridays.

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