By 2007, the popularity of downloading music had muscled about 3,800 record stores out of business nationwide, including two Wooden Nickel Music locations in Fort Wayne.
“After I closed Southgate in 2007, I didn't know if Wooden Nickel would be around in 2010,” said Bob Roets, Wooden Nickel stores' owner.
But his stores' sales have grown every year since 2008, a change he attributes in part to the creation of national Record Store Day. This year, the day will be observed Saturday, and Roets' three stores will celebrate with giveaways and sales of about 300 record titles available exclusively on vinyl and only on Saturday. His North Anthony Boulevard store also will have live bands.
Neat, Neat, Neat Records and Music on South Calhoun Street also will be take part in the festivities, with sales of Record Store Day exclusive vinyl releases — including a few by local musicians — and the Bravas food truck serving a French toast dog.
Wooden Nickel was one of about 32 record store chains that worked together in 2007 to organize the first national Record Store Day in 2008, Roets said. Participation in the event since has grown to more than 700 record stores nationwide.
This Saturday, he expects people to start lining up outside the North Anthony store by at least 6 a.m. — two hours before it opens.
“It's kind of like a mini Vera Bradley (Outlet Sale) kind of thing,” he said.
Neat, Neat, Neat Records also will open early — at 8 a.m. — and owner Morrison Agen expectsabout 80 people in line waiting to enter.
“You do more business on that day than you do in some months,” Agen said.
He also sees a lot of new faces in the store on Record Store Day, so it's a great opportunity to build relationships with customers, he added.
Agen plans to have a large selection of Record Store Day releases on hand, so people should get at least some items on their shopping lists.
Roets said sales at his Wooden Nickel stores have tripled since national Record Store Day started.
He and Agen said Record Store Day seems to have inspired young people to take interest in buying music on vinyl records rather than as downloaded digital files.
First, vinyl records appeal to collectors, Roets and Agen said. Some Record Store Day special releases may be among as few as 200 copies of the record available worldwide, Roets said.
Vinyl records and albums typically also feature more art and visuals than CDs or music downloads, Roets said. They normally also contain a booklet with the lyrics to all songs on the album, which is important for people who really want to know what the musician or band is saying.
In addition, record companies now are releasing on vinyl much of the music released only on CD from about 1989 to 2005, he said.
“For vinyl customers, it is like Christmas,” he said.