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Pandemic Fails to Slow Vinyl Resurgence in Peoria

(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Thursday, March 1, 2018, James "Jimmy" Rugami shows records inside his vinyl records stall in Kenyatta Market in Nairobi, Kenya.

Craig Moore wasn’t sure how the public would respond after his record store was closed for 2 1/2 months this spring due to the state’s coronavirus lockdown.

“Initially, the pandemic didn’t treat us too well. We were shut down when everything had to close. It took awhile to adjust,” said Moore, who’s been selling records since 1984 when vinyl was the norm, and for more than 20 years at his Younger Than Yesterday shop at 2615 N. University St.

“But when I opened the doors on May 29, there were 20 to 30 people outside. I thought maybe this will be okay,” he said.
Moore not only requires customers to wear masks at his store, but supplies gloves they can use to flip through a record collection he estimates tops 50,000.

“Business has been normal since we reopened. At times, better than normal,” he said.

“One thing the pandemic did was force me to go through a massive backlog of things I’ve been accumulating. When we opened, I had 40 boxes of new music to add,” said Moore.

When the 73-year-old musician/store owner says new music, he means new to the store. Used records make up about 80 percent of his stock, he estimates.

That means about 20 percent of records are new, said Moore. While classic rock is the mainstay genre, there always are new records and new artists to learn about, he said.

“I try to keep up with new bands. I listen to my customers,” said Moore, who’s played in numerous local bands himself over the years.

Since the pandemic upset plans for Record Store Day, a national event usually held in April, organizers established three different days this year—in August, September and October--to celebrate new releases.

The third and final day is coming on Saturday, Oct. 24, he said, noting that 
"previously unreleased titles by artists of all generations and all genres" will be on hand.

“And that leads right into Black Friday (Nov. 27),” laughed Moore, citing another day when new record releases are planned.

While young customers make up a big share of the store’s customers, baby boomers occasionally come in to find that record they recall from high school or college, he said.

“An equal number of those boomers come in to get rid of their records. That keeps me in business,” said Moore.

You can also listen to the full interview:

WCBU's Steve Tarter talks to Younger Than Yesterday owner Craig Moore about reopening and more.

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