Vinyl records making a comeback at Austin store

Encore Records appeared to be another casualty of technology, as the music, movie and apparel store closed its West Anderson Lane location in late 2011.

But the longtime Austin business was resurrected in November 2012 with a new location on East Sixth Street and an increased focus on specialty music collections, particularly heavy metal.

"I had given up—I was going to retire," owner Chuck Lokey said. "Then I spotted this building, and it was nasty looking. It had a drunk sitting on the corner and crack dealers right in front of us. All we had to do was call the cops, and they were all gone within days."

In the year since opening, the area has not only cleaned up but is rapidly expanding, he said. Lokey's customer base is also on the rise, particularly among those interested in purchasing vinyl records. 2012 was a record-setting year for vinyl records, according to Nielsen ratings, and 2013 nationwide sales are on pace to increase 33 percent compared with last year.

"Vinyl at one time was considered to be a dead format, and the record companies did everything they could to kill it—and now it's coming back," Lokey said. "They love it and they hate it because they have to deal with it. We love it."

He relies on managers Tom and Gary—"It takes a music nerd, and I've got two of them," Lokey said—to supply Encore Records with the most coveted new and vintage vinyl available. Customers can even donate and exchange vinyl records, Lokey said.

Encore Records will also participate in Record Store Day on Black Friday, Nov. 29. Approximately 80 vinyls exclusive to independent record stores will be available, he said.

"We're all that's left when you think about it," Lokey said. "Who else sells vinyl?"

Encore Records, 809 E. Sixth St., 512-476-6666, [email protected]