5 Wilmington record stores keep playing despite pandemic pressure – StarNewsOnline.com

Back in the late 1970s and early ’80s, Eddie Todd worked at the long-since closed Record Bar music store chain on Oleander Drive, where the PPG Paints store is now.

Little did he know that some 35 years later he’d be working at The Record Bar again, albeit a much smaller version a few miles down Oleander toward Wrightsville Beach.

Todd, a longtime Wilmington musician and former record store owner (the old Eddie’s Discs in Wallace), just started working at the new Record Bar, which is owned by Wilmington CPA and record collector Tony Stroud, about three weeks ago. Branding itself as “an old name with a new spin,” the cozy nook is a music head’s dream, with wooden bins packed with both old vinyl and new vinyl releases.

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And the Record Bar is far from the only shop in Wilmington peddling vinyl, a format that’s shown an upswing in popularity among hardcore music lovers in recent years. Pandemic or no, you’ll find plenty people browsing the stacks at the five Port City record shops below.

The shops have shown remarkable resilience in the face of a pandemic that’s stretched for eight months now. The pressures have also created opportunities, however, forcing the shops to conduct much of their business online — a move, some store owners say, that’s proved profitable and helped them stay afloat.

News stressing you out? Maybe grab a new (or old) record and have a listen.


1417 S. 42nd St., Wilmington

By appointment, with curbside pickup and online sales

757-912-8032 or Facebook.com/AngiesRecordsAndHair

Located in the same building as the bar/rock venue Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern, it’s owned by Angela and Johnny Yeagher of Wilmington garage punk band Zodiac Panthers, and the record selection has a distinctly rock ‘n’ roll vibe.

3 cool releases in stock right now

Owner Angela Yeagher: “‘GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter’ (new release by local Fort Lowell Records); ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’ soundtrack on colored vinyl; Metallica’s ‘Metal Up Your (Expletive).'”

What makes them different

AY: “We do hair! Our environment is very unique. Our customers can listen to some cool music, get a haircut or color service and browse records at the same time.”

Best and worst part of running a record store during a pandemic

AY: “The worst part has been having to limit the amount of people in the shop at one time. Safety for our customers is our top priority. The best part is having such loyal and cool customers that have really helped us stay afloat during these weird times.”


612 Castle St.

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

910-343-1000, Facebook.com/GravityRecords

Gravity, which started on Kerr Avenue in 2004 but moved to Castle Street about a decade ago, was a pre-pandemic hot spot for live shows by local and touring acts and is deeply embedded in the fabric of Wilmington’s music community.

3 cool releases in stock right now

Owner Matt Keen: “First and foremost, the ‘GROW’ compilation that we put together with our friends at Fort Lowell Records. As for the others, our inventory changes daily, so by the time this being published whatever title we may mention here could be gone. Check our Instagram and Facebook for daily exclusive drops.”

What makes them different

MK: “I’ve personally been doing this for a living for over 20 years now and 16-plus (as a business owner). I don’t think any other local record store has the level of experience that I do. We are also the only local record store that services and repairs turntables as well as amplifiers and speakers. I think all of these things — coupled with the fact that we use our platform for social justice, as well as fundraising for local and national causes — sets us apart from not only other local record stores but from many local businesses in general.”

Best and worst part of running a record store during a pandemic

MK: “The best part is the staff. They are the best crew and friends I could ever ask for. I still find it difficult to balance being the accountant, buyer, repair tech, marketing, HR, etc., but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”


130 N. Front St. #102, Wilmington

9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday

910-399-7435 or Modern-Legend.com

A combination record store and gift/lifestyle shop, Modern Legend is the only record-seller downtown and also carries T-shirts/apparel, cards and other items.

3 cool releases in stock right now

Owner Catherine Hawksworth: “Matt Berninger of The National put out a solo record ‘Serpentine Prison’ and I think it’s brilliant. Elliott Smith’s self titled 25-year anniversary record package includes a new remastering of the original record; a coffee table book of previously unseen photographs; and a bonus disc documenting the earliest known recording of Smith performing as a solo act. And ‘GROW’ the compilation LP I was honored to help put together to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. It features a lot of local artists I’ve worked with as a promoter, and 100 percent of what is made goes to the local NAACP.”

What makes them different

CH: “I’m not a record store in the traditional sense. Modern Legend is a lifestyle shop that sells vinyl owned by a young female who knows music. I never carry more than maybe 500, 600 (records) max at a time, but I cover everything from modern releases that came out yesterday to reissues of the classics.”

Best and worst part of running a record store during a pandemic

CH: “The best part by far is seeing the community show up and support. It’s been a beautiful thing despite the tragedy of it all, of course. The worst part is the financial strain and the uncertainty about being open at all. It’s a no-brainer that the safety of others comes first, but as small business owners we have had to face the fact that we may not bounce back from this. That’s an incredibly difficult thing to navigate. It’s been working out really well so far, considering, but every day is uncertain.”


5906-B Oleander Drive, Wilmington

Noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, noon-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday

910-859-0072 or Facebook.com/OldNameNewSpin

Wilmington’s newest record store, the Record Bar opened just before Christmas in 2019.

3 cool releases in stock right now

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” 45th anniversary limited edition re-release; “Letter to You,” new album from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; unopened, original vinyl of “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got” from Sinead O’Connor.

What makes them different

Aside from being the only record store in town named for an old record store chain, owner Tony Stroud hosts an entertaining Facebook live each Thursday evening, and often conducts weekly raffles and giveaways on the store’s Facebook page.


351 S. College Road, Wilmington

10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday

910-792-0082 or YellowDogDiscs.com

Wilmington’s longest-serving record shop — they opened back in 2000 — Yellow Dog has been owned by Tim Freeman since 2003.

3 cool releases in stock right now

Freeman said he just had a run the new Gorillaz album, “Gorillaz Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez,” and on the reissue of the soundtrack to Wilmington-filmed movie “The Crow.” Both sold out earlier this week. He continues to get lots of re-issues, however, and has a number of reissued classic Grateful Dead albums in stock.

What makes them different

“I think we have a larger selection,” Freeman said, and Yellow Dog carries a wide assortment of new releases each week in a variety of genres — including 50 new releases just last week, Freeman said.

Best and worst part of running a record store during a pandemic

The worst, Freeman said, is that “since everyone got locked away, a lot of people have started cleaning out” their old records and trying to sell them. “That can be a little overwhelming. We’re doing our best to buy what we can and get it out to the folks who want it.”

The best, he said, is the shop’s website. “It’s picked up tremendously both locally and nationally,” he said, adding that an order just recently came in from Guam.

Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or [email protected]

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