Fat Cats celebrates Record Store Day
Kevin Frith of Fat Cats Music & Video has been in the music retail business since 1987, and if there is one lesson he has taken away from that experience, it is forging and maintaining customer relationships.
In nurturing and rewarding his customer base and their appreciation for sound quality in the form of vinyl records, Frith and company are once again participating in Record Store Day, a national celebration of independent record stores.
The excitement and waves of high-fidelity nostalgia take over the store’s surrounding parking lots Saturday, April 19, at 10 a.m.
Joining Fat Cats on the day of fun is ReGear and River Street Deli, both of which have been very cooperative in making the day a success, Frith said.
The music begins at 1 p.m. and features an array of local acts, including The New Party, The Dog Particle, Drippy Inputs, Earthmover, Viewfinder, HARM, Chrome Scene, Dumpster Cats, Tiger MILF and Christian Ireland.
Throughout the day, however, and in addition to a wide selection of classic and new releases — including a limited release by grunge pioneers Nirvana — Fat Cats will have a fan-appeasing load of giveaways and DVDs and CDs to make Record Store Day complete.
To the credit of wistfulness and a desire for more hands-on music, Frith said he has noticed resurgence in the sale of vinyl, an anomaly in an era of Pandora and iPods.
“Vinyl sales have helped save indie record stores,” Frith said. “There are still people out there who like to touch, handle, feel and smell records.”
Part of that upswing can be credited to college kids, too, who are discovering that maybe parents really new best after all.
“People say they hear a difference (in vinyl),” Frith said. “It’s a big deal for them. They treat records as I did in my college years. It’s an intricate, one-on-one or shared experience to take the time to listen to a record.”
Frith compared the experience of listening to a record to reading a book or watching a movie, only that you have to flip a record about halfway through. Regardless, it’s more involved than pressing the shuffle button on iPod.
Along with a great collection of music and a boomerang pop culture, Frith also believes it’s congenial employees who are willing to interact with customers that help make his business successful.
“I look for a likeable personality in employees,” Frith said. “I hire people for different strengths and encourage them to interact with customers and to be ready and open to make suggestions.”
Frith said that extra little touch is what gives independent record stores an advantage over chain establishments.
“I value any person who will take the time, as opposed to going to Amazon, to respect what an indie record store does and not go to the big chain store,” he said.
Fat Cats Music & Video is located at 965 Rivers St. in Boone. For more information, call (828) 265-2287. For more information on Record Store Day, visit http://www.recordstoreday.com.