Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Event gives independent record stores a new spin

By Frank Vaisvilas
Geneva Republican

Geneva, IL — For the seemingly dying breed of the independent record store, business owners can use all the help they can get.

That is why more than 700 stores are participating in Record Store Day, Saturday, April 17, which celebrates the release of special edition CDs and vinyl records for music enthusiasts.

“That day in itself is a big, big sales day,” said Steve Warrenfeltz, co-founder and owner of Kiss the Sky records in Geneva. “It’s a nice shot in the arm in terms of sales.”

Studios including Sony and Universal send independent stores limited edition music releases for April 17 that Warrenfeltz said cannot be obtained any other way and won’t be available at chain stores, such as Best Buy or Wal-Mart.

“The fan base, especially the serious music fans, are pretty much aware of this,” Warrenfeltz said. “What it does is generate an industry-wide buzz.”

Warrenfeltz said his store won’t have room for events that day, as he expects it to be crowded.

However, the store is sponsoring a concert of local bands at Chord on Blues in St. Charles.

A cover fee will go toward the bands at the concert.

“We’re going to celebrate the independent musician as well,” Warrenfeltz said.

He is hoping that Record Store Day will help keep the store afloat.

“Business has been tough for really the last nine years,” Warrenfeltz said.

Warrenfeltz said there has been a 75 percent reduction in physical music stores since the advent of online markets such as Apple’s iTunes, as many customers have turned to the Internet to buy music.

“The Internet is a major player in the music business,” Warrenfeltz said.

Still, he said one silver lining is the significant increase of vinyl record sales during the past three years.

“Vinyl is keeping some of our heads above water,” Warrenfeltz said. “We’re battling.”

But Warrenfeltz is committed to the store, which he opened in Batavia in 1996 with co-founder Mike Messerschmidt. The store moved to Geneva four years ago.

“We love what we do,” Warrenfeltz said. “At this stage in our lives, we don’t want to do anything else.”

The store has three part-time employees, including Rob Weinzirl, 18, of St. Charles, who also is a customer.

“There’s really no suburban record stores out here,” Weinzirl said.

Weinzirl is a big fan of metal, hardcore and punk bands, such as The Acacia Strain and H20.

“A lot of that stuff you might not find at big chain stores,” Weinzirl said.

If you go
WHAT Record Store Day limited edition music releases
WHEN Saturday, April 17
WHERE Kiss the Sky, 301 W. State St.
COST Free to browse
MORE INFO Call (630) 232-1888

Copyright 2010 Geneva Republican. Some rights reserved Reprinted By Permission

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