Written by Robert Wilonsky for DallasNews.com, September 1st, 2014
For now, this is just a sneak peek, a tease at the under-construction promise taking shape in an unlikely place: In 47 days, so says the countdown clock, a 15,000-square-foot record store containing give-or-take 100,000 vinyl records will open along LBJ Freeway at Josey Lane, next to a western-wear outfitters and a motorcycle shop. Its name: Josey Records, but of course, the brainchild of three men — JT Donaldson, Luke Sardello, Waric Cameron — who envision resurrecting this nowhere corner of Northwest Dallas currently buried under freeway-construction rubble. You could say the location is the least likely place to find a sound warehouse of this magnitude. But until recently,, every place was the least likely place to find a record store of any kind.
It’s been forever ago since Sound Warehouse, Peaches, Hastings, Hit Records, the Melody Shop and even Tower packed ‘em in. But what was once a scoffed-at business proposal has become everyone’s audiofile’s business plan. Every day is Record Store Day. Next thing you know the bookstore will make a triumphant return.
Josey Records landed at this curious spot because one of their investors has a stake in the building. They plan something special to announce their presence — a 30-foot sign above the building, “a huge record with LEDs going around it,” says Sardello. “They’re going to make sure it gets seen.”
The store’s still very much a work in progress; it looks like this footage of the Sunset Strip Tower Records shot in 1971. There are 70 eight-foot-long hand-crafted wooden racked line up throughout the future home of Josey Records, but, for now, only a giant fraction of the stock has been pulled from the hundreds of cardboard boxes piled up and scattered around the cavernous space. Sardello’s been hoarding stock for years, and filling in blanks with huge buys from Oklahoma and Houston. The Oklahoma buy came from a man who died of cancer; he left behind 10,000 LPs alone, ranging from the classic-rock standards to Zappa titles in German.
They will specialize in used vinyl but, also carry “several thousands pieces in the new-release section,” says Sardello, as well as books and magazines. There will be CDs and DVDs among the 45s (“a lot of soul 45s”) and 78s. And, of course, record players, new ones and vintage ones.
Amoeba, with three destination outposts in California, is the role model “because they carry everything,” says Sardello. “The whole idea of building a cultural center around music is what we’re shooting for.” They want people to hang out in the art gallery and linger in the lounge or loiter at the listening stations. They promise in-stores and record-release parties.
“There’s always been a collector’s market, but the regular market’s making the push now. You can’t go into Half-Price without seeing a ton of people around the record stock,” says Sardello. “It seems to be younger people too, people who didn’t have it growing up, who grew up on CDs. They’ve fallen in love with being to hold it, with liner notes, with the artwork.”