In Vinyl Lives we spotlight and profile record stores around the country who offer music lovers an experience that goes beyond an iTunes purchase or a Spotify playlist. Vinyl has found a new resurgence and the good folks behind independent record stores are on the front line, directly responsible for curating a unique collection of music. Here at Glide Magazine we feel that record stores are a valuable part of the community and to music as a whole, and are therefore worth celebrating.
This month we turn the spotlight on not one but three proudly independent record stores. Not only that, but these stores happen to be located in Oklahoma and Kentucky of all places. Guestroom Records was founded in 2002 by Justin Sowers and Travis Searle in Norman, OK – home to the University of Oklahoma – with the first storefront opening in the summer of 2003. Prior to actually opening a storefront, Sowers and Searle – both graduates of OU – spent a year and a half running a small distribution/door to door record shop, which would be cool in Brooklyn let alone Norman. Somehow the idea took off and before they knew it the duo took their massive personal collections of music and used that as the opening stock for the first Guestroom Records storefront. The community of Norman embraced the shop and in 2007 Sowers and Searle opened up a new location in Oklahoma City. Over time they made fans out of notable locals like the eccentric Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. With things going so well, the Guestroom team decided to branch out (of Oklahoma) and a third location was opened in Louisville, KY in 2013 with Travis Searle and partner Lisa Foster moving to run the new shop and experience a change in lifestyle and locale.
These days all of the stores are predominantly focused on new and used vinyl but also carry thousands of new and used CDs at each location. Originally, the stock was a mixture of punk rock, classic rock and newer indie music, though the decade plus of being open has expanded the taste of the owners and buyers as well as serving to create stores where nearly anyone can come in and find something awesome. This is somewhat of a natural evolution for any record store that wants to stay relevant, and all three locations of Guestroom Records have done a fantastic job of doing just that. All of the stores are widely known in their respective towns for carrying a heavy stock of Indie/Metal/Punk/Classic Rock/Country/Hip-Hop and lots of other random stuff thrown in for good measure.
For Justin Sowers and Travis Searle, it comes down to their employees when they reflect on the success of Guestroom Records. “We’ve been so fortunate over the years to find awesome, knowledgeable AND approachable employees that are really the fire that makes this engine run.”
That being said, here are some fun facts about what’s selling these days at the Louisville, KY location of Guestroom Records:
Top 10 sellers in Louisville for the last 2 weeks:
Deerhunter – Fading Frontier
Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars
Joanna Newsom – Divers
Fuzz – II
Wilco – Star Wars
Joan Shelley – Over and Even
Maiden Radio – Wolvering
Protomartyr – Agent Intellect
Wavves – V
White Reaper – Does It Again
Tony! Toni! Toné! – Guestroom Cat
Neko Case vinyl reissues
Meow the Jewels
Not on the horizon yet, but early Brian Eno catalog! Someone please do it!
You’d be surprised but we sell a lot of…
Local artists! Not wholly surprising but it’s amazing to be able to say that more than half of our top sellers of the year come from artists that live within a 10-minute drive of our shop!
Guestroom Records are located at:
125 East Main Street Norman, Oklahoma
3701 N. Western Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
1806 Frankfort Ave. Louisville, KY
For more info check out guestroom-records.com!
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Is there a record store you think we should profile? Feel free to shoot your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org!