Last week I was out running errands. Stops at the grocery store, getting gas and an oil change, etc. While on route from one destination to another I got a text message. Being a law abiding citizen I waited to check my text until I had parked my car. (cough cough) Or the next red light. It was my cousin, Dave. His text message read, found a new place in St. Pete… you won’t believe it!!!
What he was referring to is a record store. An honest to goodness record store. Dave said it was like walking back into 1989. I love vinyl. So we made a plan to meet there and today was the day. St. Petersburg is about a 40 minute ride from my house. It’s a very scenic drive over a cool bridge. I went early and stopped by Tropicana Field to pick up Opening Day tickets for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Planet Retro, is only about 5 minutes away from the stadium. “Planet Retro”, even the name of the store is cool. I pulled up and found parking across the street and saw Dave thumbing through sale bins that were sitting outside the store. There were five boxes of vinyl and a couple of racks of CDs. Dave was already holding a copy of Bang Tango’s “Live Injection”.
I went through each box and saw a couple records I’d keep in mind. Everything outside was just a dollar.
Then we went into the store. The owner, Rob, was sitting behind the counter. The store, while not exceptionally wide, was bigger than it looked from the outside. It is just packed full of albums. Like sensory overload full of records. There were a few CDs and cassettes but for the most part it’s 90% vinyls.
It wasn’t just all beat up old records, a lot of the records were still sealed. As in, never been opened! There was a whole wall of new releases. The rest were used but in amazing condition. Classic rock, hard rock, heavy metal, punk, and hardcore made up most of inventory. The more we looked the more we found with records stashed away in every corner.
The hunt was on! While I love a store like Amoeba Records in Hollywood, it’s massive, and almost too big. Planet Retro isn’t as overwhelming but the quality is (pardon the pun) out of this world. We spent about 90 minutes and probably could have doubled it.
My stack of potential purchases was growing. I didn’t know what direction to go in. Should I get all the Alice Cooper records I need? Do I get a variety? I decided to go for the latter. I lot of the stock hasn’t been priced. I gave Rob my half dozen choices. I was expecting it to tally up somewhere between $50-$60. He went through each record checking them individually. He told me my total was $21.
I was in disbelief. With vinyl being cool again, the price gouging is pretty crazy. This was more than fair. I have found my every other week place to feed my basic instinct of hunting and gathering.
The gulf coast of Florida is a great vacation destination. You’ve got amazing beaches and there are amusement parks galore. Now if you love vinyl, Planet Retro is new place to check out after you been sunburned and waited in too many lines.
P.S. My first haul on my maiden trip:
Alice Cooper - Killer
Dio - Sacred Heart
Hanoi Rocks - All Those Wasted Years
April Wine - Walking Through Fire
Krokus - Hardware
Grand Prix - Samurai
Time to fire up the turntable, it’s going to be a good weekend.