Earlier today we mentioned that the Houston area has a staggering 16 music retailers that will celebrate Record Store Day tomorrow, but we'd also like to single out two that go by the same name. Sound Revolution's F.M. 1960 location near Bush Intercontinental Airport has been around since 1976, long enough to resemble the shop the character Hyde worked for under Tommy Chong and later owned in That '70s Show. The other is Houston's newest record store, opening March 1 in Tomball's Lakewood Shopping Center.
"You never know when you start something out as a kid how much you're gonna like it," reflects owner Alicia Schultz, who says that she can remember a time when there was a record store every two miles or so. "It's been a long road, a lot of ups and downs in the music business, but it never really goes away."
Business has been "great" at the 1960 store the past few years, Schultz says. The store sells lots of other stuff besides music (skateboards, glass pipes, etc.) but if you're curious, she says the inventory is split about 60/40 between CDs and vinyl. Furthermore, since about Christmas, she says she's noticed more kids in their early teens coming into the shop, which makes her happy. Schultz was a teen herself when her older sister called her to ask if she'd come help open the original store.
"Used to when we opened in the '70s, it was like every kid went to the record store just like I did after school when I was a kid," she says. "They'd come in the record store and drop their backpacks at the door, and hung out and went through all the records. You'd get to be friends with the other kids in the neighborhood and all that. It's kind of nice to see that coming back again."
Noting how much the 1960 area has changed over the years - she remembers when the busy thoroughfare now known as was "a two-lane road with parks on it" - Schultz says Sound Revolution's original location drew so many customers from the Tomball area that she decided to relocate there. Instead, Sound Revolution would up expanding.
"It made me feel good -- I didn't know we were that big of a deal," she says. "My customers would say, 'You can't move, you're like a landmark.' And my landlord said not to move, and we ended up staying and doing both stores. But it's worked out."
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Sound Revolution was a charter member of the Record Store Day family, and both stores will be enthusiastically participating tomorrow. She says she's seen the crowd grow from a half-dozen people to "a line out our door and around the building" last year. Like over at Cactus, Schultz says there are now so many RSD-exclusive items that it's difficult to know exactly what her stores will get until she opens the boxes, but she's looking forward to the surprise
"We jumped in with both feet and ordered a big variety of what's out there, but I'm pretty pleased today," she told Rocks Off on Wednesday. "I spent today helping a guy alphabetize and organize the original order. And we'll probably get four more orders this week. We won't know until we unpack the last box, everything we get, but we ordered some of almost everything."
Since the Tomball store opened, in a busy area near both the Lone Star College and Noble Energy campuses, Schultz says she's been spending two days a week at the new location. Customers there have been asking for a lot of indie-rock, she notes, while others ask her to get more country, either classic country or newer artists like Robert Ellis who sound like classic country. Either way, they're happy to have a new neighbor.
"I see a lot of people up there that are excited, like, 'Finally, a record store around here,' Schulz says. "People are really appreciative."
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