The record business evolved from Antiques on the Square owned by Melissa and Jim Kumpe when a friend brought in a box of records to sell. Sweet Melissa Records is located at the same space: 146 South Park Square.
“The records sold really well, and we were shocked, really shocked,” Jim said. “When I saw that (records) worked, I started doing that. I jumped in with both feet. One of my first purchases was 10,000 records.”
Initially they sold only vintage records but expanded their selection to include new releases in response to customers’ requests. Jim said more than 300 records come out every week.
“It’s caught on like a wildfire,” he said. “People would just tell each other about us.”
Jim said records have better sound quality, much better than the average CD player.
“We always listen to records,” he said. “It’s something you can share. If you get your music through Apple, which is now the largest seller of music, I can’t give you that song. I can’t really share it with you. With records, the consumer gets something to hold.”
Melissa said records have a nostalgic appeal: “It’s the same things we used to love about records — the wonderful artwork, the packaging, the whole thing. The specialness of it is very much going on today.” She said having records has changed their customer demographics.
“Kids like nostalgia. They love vinyl. They love records, she said. “They love all the old stuff — Beatles, (Jimi) Hendrix, (Led) Zeppelin.”
Jim said when kids discover the beauty of records, they end up in the store with their parents.
Melissa echoes this sentiment: “It’s really beautiful. It’s a wonderful connection and it’s so much about sharing. With a record, the kids learn more about music and the artists because of the written material on the cover. They can pass (the cover) and talk about the music.”
The couple also researched and added turntables to their inventory. Prices range from $150 to $5,000. They also carry audio equipment.
To learn more, visit www.sweetmelissarecords.com or call (770) 429-0434.