In the past three weeks, over 30 record stores in the Denver area have closed their doors due to COVID-19. What were once sanctuaries to provide customers and music lovers with a sense of relief and expression are now relying on their customers more than ever. Across Colorado, several record stores are offering ways to provide customers with what matters most: the music.
Since the spread of the coronavirus and a statewide stay-at-home order, record stores have no other choice than to close their doors, let go of employees and rethink their business strategy. That means a transition to online sales using social media as the primary method of outreach. Instagram has been a hot spot for online record sales. Stores like Bart’s Record Shop in Boulder and Twist & Shout in Denver have relied heavily on social media as their primary vehicle to get customers the records they need in a time where music is needed most.
“One of the biggest ways for people to support us is to buy records through our Instagram, even if you don’t have social media, our website will redirect you, we want to help people help us,” Bart’s employee Elise Colley said.
Making purchases through social media and record store websites, purchasing gift cards and even buying from eBay stores are the biggest recommendations for keeping Colorado’s favorite record stores afloat.
“(Social media accounts) don’t take the place of the shopping experience, but they might help us make it to the other side and keep you connected to your community,” Denver’s Twist & Shout owner Paul Epstein said. “The emails and messages I’ve gotten from our customers and friends have been so soulful and healing.”
Words of encouragement are crucial to owners like Epstein, especially in a time where it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“This virus is a top-down, equal-opportunity killer. It kills people, business and social intercourse as modern society understands it,” Epstein said.
While placed under the “non-essential business” umbrella during stay-at-home orders, for some people record stores are absolutely essential.
“I’ve had customers who use these records as ways to cope from trauma, and with these records they are able to heal and process,” Colley said. “You’re able to not feel as alone. You have sounds that relate to your emotions about what is happening in the world right now.”
“This virus is a top-down, equal-opportunity killer. It kills people, business and social intercourse as modern society understands it.”
Paul Epstein, Twist & Shout owner
Supporting these record stores will help normalcy back to the world through the pandemic, Epstein said.
“We all want life to return to normal. We want to go back to the ‘Main Street’ in our mind. I’d just remind folks that without your favorite stores there will be no ‘Main Street’ to return to, so support your local ‘Main Street!'” Epstein said. “I know we’ll make it through this together, not apart.”
Music and records are renowned for banding communities together. Employees and owners understand that their customers are truly being affected by COVID-19. They want to help them as many ways as possible, such as offering free shipping and special custom orders. Record stores get more of an opportunity to learn and care about their customers than other retail, and they take that as a blessing. And with the help of SEO experts in Cedar Rapids, they are able to use their performance data to fine tune and adjust their campaigns. Consumers, just like specialty shops, are coping with a changing market.
“We want to support our community as much as they want to support us. Every notion made to keep us alive will not go unnoticed,” Colley said.
“Music brings people together. I’ve seen it first hand,” continued Colley, referencing the words of singer Margaret Glaspy, which she feels represents Bart’s yearn to help the community: “I wanna clap and shout through all my fears and help someone else through the lonely tears.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Lizzie Weiler at firstname.lastname@example.org.