You can have your record stores with neatly organized bins and a wall of crisp new releases. Give me a store that has character.
Stores like Recycled Records in Springfield, Illinois are hard to come by in the current era of vinyl collecting. It’s the type of place you remember for the ambiance and character just as much as you can’t stop thinking about what they had for sale.
Recycled Records has sadly announced that it will close for good on April 29, after more than 40 years in business at 625 East Adams Street.
There have been a lot of articles and social media posts about the store’s closing in recent weeks. The Recycled Records story has been told several times over, including on their own website.
The store grew out of furniture store that was originally opened in 1910 by Mark and Gary Kessler’s grandparents.
Gary has kept Recycled Records up and running since Mark’s unfortunate death in April last year. Gary’s honest communication on the store’s social media has remained as part of the charm of Recycled Records.
A Facebook post leading up to the store’s sendoff promised a celebration featuring a curious lineup of “apples, donuts and musicians.”
But tapping into a collector’s curiosity is really what Recycled Records has done best. It’s part of what I will miss most once the store is no more in downtown Springfield.
I’ll also miss the absolute MASSIVE selection of vinyl seemingly waiting to be uncovered like a lost civilization on the second floor.
It’s bin after bin after bin of both recent and classic titles. The second floor of Recycled Records is chaotic enough to get lost up there for an afternoon, yet organized to the point where you’ll likely find the artists you’re looking for.
I’ll admit that I had no idea there was even an upstairs to Recycled Records the first time I visited the store. I was content browsing the crates on the first floor that were heavy with new releases.
Then, I was directed to a staircase in the back corner of the store. I’m not sure how I missed the sign and welcoming Santa decoration.
I’ll miss the variety at Recycled Records.
A store can have a lot of records, but it’s less impressive when they are carrying a huge inventory of duplicates. Do you truly have “something for all music lovers” when shoppers spend most of their time flipping through 20 copies of Adele’s “30?”
Recycled Records might be the one place that lives up to that and then some. Their vinyl selection goes beyond your typical genres to include international titles and, well, albums that really don’t fit any genre.
Looking for marriage advice on vinyl? Recycled Records has you covered.
I’ll miss the creative (and honest) signage that adds to the character of Recycled Records.
The Stairway To Heaven sign is a beacon to those ready to continue their vinyl hunt upstairs. Take a wrong turn, however, and you’ll be met with a stern warning and the possibility of losing your toenails.
And while I’m on the subject of warnings, you should know shoplifters will be handled accordingly.
I’ll miss how at home I always felt entering Recycled Records.
Everywhere I turned among the cases of jewelry, video games and sports memorabilia, there was always someone ready to talk vinyl. You felt like part of a group who all gathered at the store, bonded by your love of collecting things.
Recycled Records was a place for me to get away and relax on a day off work. No email, no phone calls. Just row after row of albums waiting just for me.
On warm days, an upstairs stereo pumped out tunes to those passing by throughout the downtown area. It was one of the many ways Recycled Records rolled out the welcome wagon to those in search of music and just about anything else that could be collected.
The Recycled Records sign boasts “you’ll love us… now that you’ve found us.”
For me, collecting vinyl is not only about the thrill of hunting down and buying music I love. It’s searching for unique stores and meeting the characters inside them. It’s getting lost somewhere but still feeling right at home.
I’m glad I found Recycled Records, a true one-of-a-kind store that I loved.