Houston vinyl enthusiasts will soon have a new spot to score their drug of choice. Avid collectors may have come across notices advertising a "Big Pre-Opening 45 Sale" for a mysterious locale known as Heights Vinyl, set for this Saturday. The shop itself won't be open until November, but the ad promises thousands of unpicked 45s to be set out between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Rocks Off managed to track down Craig Brown, proprietor of the soon-to-be record store on White Oak, to learn a bit more about his plans - and the boxes upon boxes of singles set to hit the street Saturday morning.
Brown describes himself as a 40-year-old Pearland native, who's dreamed of opening his own shop for "39 years." An on again-off-again DJ since age 16, Brown left town for college, spending time in Austin, Denver and San Diego before returning to Houston a few years ago and moving into the Heights.
"I live up the street," he says as we chat at Antidote.
A message posted to the Hands Up Houston forum last week promised that the shop would contain "listening stages and a small stage for shows" as well as being a place to procure "vinyl records, vintage turntables, vintage headphones, needles, cartridges and more," but was strangely cryptic regarding the shop's location.
That's since been announced: 3122 White Oak Boulevard, Suite D. The street's recent swath of development played a factor in Brown's choice of location. "There's already established things, but there's a lot of burgeoning things as well," he says, remarking that Fitzgerald's is a mere five-minute walk away, and Onion Creek just 30 seconds.
Brown still has a good bit of construction to go, like building shelves, listening stages, wiring speakers, knocking out a wall, and raising a ceiling.
"It's one of those things where I've had my own businesses before," Brown reveals, "consultancies, things like that - virtual businesses. This is my first brick and mortar shop, so it's been an education process, doing city submissions and everything. Of course, everything's costing me twice as much as I thought and taking twice as much time."
Saturday's sale, however, provides a two-fold opportunity for Brown - a chance to introduce himself to the record-collecting community while also putting a little cash back into his coffers.
"I made a pretty big buy on 45s not too long ago," he states, adding that recouping his money shouldn't be too difficult. About half of the boxes have been sorted through for the store, while half were set aside for Saturday.
The boxes being offered up this weekend are being set out completely unpicked as well, and with each record priced at a mere 99 cents, it'll be a digger's paradise.
"It's been really tempting, I've had to slap my wrist a bunch," Brown admits when asked about the reserved boxes. "I'm sure there's some treasures in them."
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Brown stresses that the 45s won't all hit the street at the 10 a.m. start time, but will be released throughout the sale, giving pickers who show up later a shot at scoring big. As for those folks who find something truly rare, the picks will still remain 99 cents, no matter how painful it may be.
"I'm gonna close my eyes a lot when I actually check people out," he says. "I might have somebody else do it."