As one record store exits, another enters. Sound Cat Records
has opened in Bloomfield, picking up the reins from neighborhood-favorite Paul's CDs. Sound Cat Records sells new and used vinyl records, and CDs, from jazz, blues, and funk, to rock, pop, punk, and metal.
Sound Cat is owned by Karl Hendricks, who has worked at Paul’s for the past 18 years, and at Jim’s Records in the same location before that.
Hendricks is well aware of the difficulties facing brick-and-mortar music shops in this digital age of instant streaming, and both legal and illegal downloading. But he’s also confident in the value local businesses add to the community.
Hendricks says shops of all kinds, “make up the fabric of our existence outside of screens,” and if they were to go away, there would be a tremendous loss.
“I think people recognize that…[and] that's why more and more young people are coming in, because they don’t want to live their lives strictly on screens.”
Michael Seamans is co-owner of Mind Cure Records
in Polish Hill. His store has been open just under two years, and he says it’s a strong, loyal customer base which keeps Mind Cure in business. Seamans acknowledges there’s been a major resurgence in collecting records, especially among young people, and says it’s a reaction to digital media in general.
Seamans says in these times operating a records shop is not unlike owning a used bookstore or antique shop.
“My main business is more of a collectors market,” Seamans says. “And that doesn’t even have to mean high-end--it's just people that really want to have vinyl records.”
At Sound Cat, Hendricks says it’s exciting to have younger people interested in vinyl, alongside customers who have shopped at Paul’s CD and Jim’s Records for over 20 years.
“It’s interesting to see a format go though a lot of changes over the past couple decades, but it's still hanging in there even with all the changes in technology,” Hendricks says. “People of all ages and all demographics are still buying music.”
Sound Cat Records, 4526 Liberty Avenue, Bloomfield. 412-621-3256
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Karl Hendricks; Michael Seamans