Vinyl Pursuits

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After 5: Collector's Series: Vinyl Pursuits

Brett Childers has more than 8,000 records in his collection, and he stands to inherit his parents' collection of 7,000.
Brett Childers has more than 8,000 records in his collection, and he stands to inherit his parents' collection of 7,000.

Musical passions spin into serious hobby

Record collectors appear to have at least one thing in common: a love of music.

Of course, collectors also include dealers and those who buy rare finds to make money on the next sale. Most record collectors, however, have never sold any of their prize possessions.

Mark Harrington, president and CEO of Old Missouri National Bank, started collecting when he was 11 years old, using his “pop bottle money” to buy records and baseball cards.

“I love the sound of dropping that stylus down in the grooves,” Harrington says. “That got me when I was a kid, and it still does.”

He has never sold or traded one of his 2,000 records – not even when he accidentally purchased a duplicate.

Brett Childers, owner and president of Springfield Inventory Service Inc., has a collection of a little more than 4,000 12-inch albums, 4,000 45s and about 100 78s. He also knows he’ll inherit his parents’ collection of more than 7,000 records eventually. Even so, he’s not one to sell his records either.

“I collect them because I not only like to have them, I like to play them, too,” Childers explains.

Childers listens to records every day. He often puts a stack of three on the turntable while running on his treadmill. He likes all styles of music, but leans toward rock ‘n’ roll. Harrington also likes pop and soul music.

Wes Nichols, owner of Stick It In Your Ear in Springfield, says the demographic for record collectors is across the board – from 13-year-old females to 55-year-old males.

“A lot of people that we think would come in for a pop CD end up going to the back and buying a stack of old (Jimi) Hendrix records,” Nichols notes.

Nichols says 20 percent of his business is from vinyl sales, and he buys 30 to 40 records per day and sells about the same with average retail prices of $4 to $6. One-third of his vinyl sales are from new vinyl while the rest is used. Nichols lets Childers know when a new batch of records hits the store and also when record shows are scheduled.

Childers and Harrington also search garage sales and flea markets for records and will search online when looking for specific albums. Childers says he looks for things he didn’t buy when he was a kid and for unusual items like misprints on labels.

So where do they keep all these albums? Both Harrington and Childers have closets or shelves specifically built to store their collections, but both have outgrown these custom spaces and have stacks and crates full of overflow.

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