The ongoing novel coronavirus has caused a global economic downturn, leaving many businesses with no other option but to close their doors and wait for the pandemic to die down. Like many other subsections of the music industry, local, state, and national shutdowns have decimated record sales. Record stores around the country recently began taking matters into their own hands, offering pickup and delivery options amid these trying times.
“The weekend prior was by far our biggest of the year,” Strictly Discs store owner Angie Roloff told Billboard. “But this last weekend was where we felt things start to change.”
Over the past several years, and up until the virus struck, vinyl sales growth was positively trending. Recent developments regarding the status of the coronavirus have now changed industry projections. In a one-two punch, Amazon announced this week that it would temporarily cut off new shipments of non-essential goods, virtually eliminating record sales for the foreseeable future. As the world’s largest online record retailer halts its participation in the market, brick and mortar stores are doing everything they can to remain open.
“We’re trying to goose it however we can and just let people know we’re there,” said Waterloo Records owner John Kunz. ” Waterloo has not yet offered delivery services, due to more pressing needs, but Kunz is hopeful that the company will do so soon.
Darkside Records co-owner Justin Johnson also told Billboard that the curbside pickup has seen a lot of support from store regulars at its Poughkeepsie, NY storefront, however, the company has not been able to avoid layoffs.
“Currently all my part-timers have been laid off—temporarily, of course. And we’re staring down the barrel of whether or not we have to do that with our full-time employees as well,” Johnson said. He also mentioned that the company is taking all necessary precautions while remaining open, including wearing gloves, staying six-feet apart, removing plastic sleeves from the records, and transferring them through the passenger side window. Hopefully, as the country becomes more accustomed to navigating these uncharted waters, record stores will develop new ways to get their products into the hands of music lovers around the country.