Music News & Reviews

Iconic Sacramento record store to close due to rent hike, says owner

Shoppers dig through the bins at Records as the Broadway store reaches its final days. The iconic Sacramento record store is shutting down by the end of 2016 due to a rent increase.
Shoppers dig through the bins at Records as the Broadway store reaches its final days. The iconic Sacramento record store is shutting down by the end of 2016 due to a rent increase. cmacias@sacbee.com

One of Sacramento’s institutions for used record shopping will soon be going silent. The aptly named Records at 1618 Broadway plans to shut down by the end of December.

According to owner Kevin Hartman, the closure of Records after nearly a decade on Broadway is due to a recent rent hike of $500 per month and a slowdown in customers selling their vinyl to the store. Hartman is mulling the possibility of reopening Records at a new location, but doesn’t yet have firm plans.

The closure comes as sales of vinyl albums reached a 28-year high in 2016. The local landscape for used records has also become more competitive through such newer shops as Delta Breeze in West Sacramento, Phono Select and MediumRare/Kicksville in R Street’s WAL building. One of Records’ neighbors includes Dimple Records, which is in the former Tower Records at 16th Street and Broadway.

“Sales are good, but we’re not getting as much in the way of high-quality records coming through the store,” Hartman said. “There are newer stores now and more options. Before, people would have to come to us.”

The original location of Records was in the 700 block of K Street and opened in the early 1970s by Hartman’s father, Ed Hartman. The store, a haven for local record collectors, was made famous in hip-hop and vinyl collector circles after being depicted in the cover of DJ Shadow’s 1996 album “Endtroducing.”

The album, which was listed by Rolling Stone as one of its Top 100 albums of the Nineties, was constructed primarily by samples which were culled from records that DJ Shadow unearthed at the store.

“Scratch,” a 2001 documentary about hip-hop DJ culture, included an extended scene of DJ Shadow digging through crates of vinyl at the K Street shop.

“Record stores are my muse in a certain respect, and that store (Records) certainly was for ‘Endtroducing,’ ” DJ Shadow said to The Bee in 2007.

Records moved to its Broadway location in the mid-2000s, and despite its smaller size than the K Street store, remained a go-to spot for record collectors. Prince and the iconic hip-hop DJ Afrika Bambaataa were among the store’s customers when they came through Sacramento.

“(Records) taught me so much about music,” said Dennis Yudt, a longtime customer who now works at the store. “It’s that whole digger mentality, that you never know what you’re going to find and discover genres of music that you didn’t know existed. Records is an establishment.”

Chris Macias: 916-321-1253, @chris_macias

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