November 3, 2014 by 45spin


As most of you know that have been reading my blog over the last year is that I have been treasure hunting for vinyl most of my life. I have traveled just about every state in the USA and even a few Canadian providence’s hunting down that elusive black vinyl gold . As Johnny Cash would sing in his song “I’ve Been Everywhere”  I have hunted down records in Flea markets, Junk stores, basements, thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, you name it, I have probably have been there and done that at one time or another. As a vinyl junkie one never knows what treasures lie in that next stack of records.

Ever since I opened the record store something strange has been happening in that records are now actually finding me!   I have to confess that I never really thought that I would have that many people bringing me records, in fact I was pretty worried that the 20,000 + used albums and the 90,000 45’s that I spent years collecting for the store were gonna run out before I could find some more rare & fantastic records to replace them with. Nothing worse than walking into a record store with record bins filled with Helen Reddy and Air Supply.

But this whole idea that on any given day someone could walk into the store carrying boxes of minty, musty, vintage vinyl that has been in hiding for years and now they have decided to sell them. This has totally blown my mind and has me now believing that any day could be Christmas. And just as it has been a boom for Mill City Sound in keeping the store stocked with great used records  And the real amazing thing is that I now have people bring me records from all over and not just our neighborhood as word got round about how much we pay for records.

Most record & thrift stores tend to be rather cheap when it comes to how much they will pay for used records. They don’t really pay anything close to what a record is worth but rather count how many records the customer has that they want to buy and then offer them no more that one or two dollars a piece for those records. I guess that is OK if you are selling Neil Diamond & Herb Alpert records ( Which by the way nobody wants anymore ) but when you are coming in with a great collection of pristine vinyl it’s just a legal form of robbery.  And to those who are selling their records because they have hit some hard times and they just need the money to live on,  its just criminal.  Our rule of thumb is that we pay 50% of what we can sell it for, so if they have have a great collection we will pay them a decent amount for their records. That way everybody wins and nobody leaves feeling like they just got screwed.

As a result we have had some truly amazing records pass through our doors already, and yes I have kept a few for myself but in rare showing of personal restraint I have sold 99% of what we have bought in the store.  This has been a real boom to our store as we have people that stop by two or three times a week to check out what we just put into the record bins. And unlike some record stores that sell the really collectable and rare stuff online, we make sure that everyone gets a crack at purchasing whatever comes into the store.  I’m sure we could make more money selling some of the rare records on eBay or Discogs but there is nothing quite like the smile on a fellow vinylhead who finds a record that they have been searching for just sitting there waiting for them in a used record bin.

So I guess I’m not really a very good businessman. I pay a lot for records and I sell them for less than I should.

But you should see how many people smile when they come into our store.

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  1. Ah, you are indeed living the dream. Brilliant!

  2. Wow – well done – those records look so good – like they are collecters dream – carry on! PS I think that Ornette album is wonderful and am slightly jealous I don’t live round the corner – the UK “secondhand” record shops are now few and far between and seem to not have anything approaching what I consider anything other than junk.

    • 45spin says:

      You are right the Ornette album album is fantastic. It’s everything I can do some days to not take them all home.

      As most of my life I have been a record collector all I wanted to do with the store was have a place that I would want to come to. And to me it has always been about having great records at reasonable prices. Thanks for your kind words and I wish you were closer as well 🙂

  3. Robin says:

    This is wonderful. I think it’s amazing that you pay so much. I know it’s always a huge letdown when I bring in a stack of records and walk away with less than $2, or nothing at all. I’ve got to come visit

    • 45spin says:

      Hey Robin,

      Great to hear from you, I was wondering how you are doing. You know karma is an amazing thing and that applies to records as well, so I have been overwhelmed with some fantastic records because of it.

  4. purplemary54 says:

    Your business plan rocks.

  5. J. says:

    Most excellent. No idea how I managed to miss this post way back when …

    Visited the website, too. Looks ace. I wish Mill City Sound was my local record store … (online orders please!).

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