|Eat More Records finds its groove in old-time sound|
|by Rachel Bailey|
Hobbyist-turned-businessman Craig Freireich makes a living selling what many may consider outdated technology. Indeed, while some children today have never seen a "record", others are part of a new retro trend: collecting the vinyl discs old and new.
That's right, records are still produced.
"The kids are buying vinyl now," says Freireich, owner of Eat More Records – located on Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville.
His store offers a place for music-listening enthusiasts young and old to buy, sell, and trade new and used records. Patrons can also pick up music stored on modern digital media such as CDs and DVDs. Still, the 1,500-square-foot strip mall store specializes in older music as opposed to newly-released works.
While Eat More Records turns a profit, the entrepreneur admits his business is currently hurting. "We're struggling," Freireich says. "A lot of our customers don't know we've moved, even after three years, and I don't have enough money to advertise properly."
Freireich believes investing in a Web site would certainly help, especially if he gets into selling more newly-pressed vinyl. But he doesn't have money for that right now, either. Yet, he says he's optimistic that as the trend picks up with younger customers, profits will, too.
Freireich started selling and trading records in 1979 at a store on Memorial Drive in downtown Atlanta. Then he took his business to flea markets before setting up shop in two different locations in Gwinnett County.
"Right now, we get a lot of the 30-plus crowd," Friereich says. "Vinyl junkies like him." Freireich points to James Simmons, a regular record shopper and Gwinnett resident.
"But there aren't many of us around," Simmons says.
Simmons visits Eat More Records three to four times a week looking for specific releases. If several new drop-offs have been made, he'll walk out with up to seven albums or more. And there are always additional old records because Freireich and his two full-time employees welcome walk-in customers looking to unload their dusty collections. According to Freireich, these drop-offs are made daily.
Record prices at Eat More Records typically range from $4 to $10 on used albums and go upwards of $50 or more depending on the collection value. Freireich estimates his company stocks 20,000 45s and 8,000 to 10,000 albums. For those of you who need the review, analog sound recording media, as opposed to digital media, come in various sizes, from 33-1/3 to 78. The numbers refer to the rotations per minute the discs make on a record player or turntable.
"We're the only store anywhere near here that does this," says Jeremy Frye, Freireich's youngest employee. "So we get a lot of great stuff, and we're a lot less picked over than some of the record stores in Atlanta. People are willing to make the drive."
While vinyl records may represent old technology, to aficionados, their quality is far superior.
"Vinyl sounds better," Simmons says. "CDs are good as far as space and clarity. But sound on CDs is so cleaned up, the music is too bright and not warm like a live recording."
This shared passion for quality sound that may help Freireich keep his 28-year business groovin'.