Capital Region Record Shops Still Spinning the Vinyl – Comstock’s Magazine

Independent record shop owners are a tight-knit community, and when COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, closing virtually all brick-and-mortar businesses, store owners realized sticking together was the best path to survival. 

Already operating on thin profit margins, record shops felt particularly vulnerable to long-term closures and losing touch with customers. The stores, however, stayed in close contact with each other. When they were able to open again a few months later, they did it in a coordinated fashion.

“We got together and we opened together, with the same rules on things like requiring masks and having sanitizers,” says Augie Maravilla, a long-time presence on the local record store scene who has run Rocket Records since 2016.

“It actually turned out pretty well for us,” he says. “Our loyal customers stayed loyal.”

Today, record stores specializing in selling used vinyl and other musical formats such as compact discs and cassette tapes — thought to be obsolete once digital downloads became prevalent in the early 2000s — are enjoying a major resurgence, with vinyl sales reaching sales figures not seen in 30 years.

“There’s a whole new generation of record buyers now,” Maravilla says.

Considered a traditionally strong area for record shops, due in part to being the home of Tower Records and founder Russ Solomon, the Capital Region is riding a new vinyl wave. Record aficionados have a wide variety of retailers in the region to choose from, with each store featuring its own idiosyncratic, nostalgic vibe.

Rick Daprato, owner of Delta Breeze Records on 10th Street, says there’s nothing that can touch the timeless sonic quality produced by vinyl records. “Records, they just have a warm sound that can’t be matched,” he says. “For me, they’re what I grew up with, and I love the covers and liner notes.”

With Record Store Day set for April 23, this is a great month to check out the inventory at these distinctive businesses, sample a record in the store, or even grab a beer or bite to eat while shopping. Here’s a look at some of those shops and the people who run them, including Rocket Records, Delta Breeze, Armadillo Music in Davis, Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage downtown, Pressed Record Café in Midtown and the erstwhile Brooks Novelty Antiques and Records in Old Sacramento.

Customers line up at Brooks Novelty Antiques and Records in Old Sacramento on Feb. 28 for the last official day it was open to the public, though the store continues to hold appointment-only and other sales events.

Brooks Novelty Antiques and Records, known for its selection of jukeboxes and other coin-operated memorabilia, is located below Firehouse Alley in Old Sacramento.

Rick Daprato, owner of Delta Breeze Records, is a retired state worker with employment at several local record stores on his resume. He has been in his 10th Street location for almost five years.

Delta Breeze Records sells used and new vinyl LPs and cassettes, specializing in vintage audio equipment.

Delta Breeze has a new mural sign outside its store near 10th and R streets in downtown Sacramento.

Paul Wilbur, center, has managed Armadillo Music, Davis’ only record shop, for most of the store’s 26-year run at two locations.

Armadillo, located in the center of downtown Davis, has “a little bit of everything — mostly vinyl, also CDs and cassettes,” says Wilbur.

Armadillo recently opened a beer bar in the store, so customers “can drink beer while looking at records, merging two very cool businesses,” Wilbur says.

A bin full of vinyl records at Rocket Records on 24th and J streets in Sacramento.

Rocket Records owner Augie Maravilla has worked in numerous area record stores over the years, opening Rocket in West Sacramento in 2016 when he retired from the state. He moved the shop to its current location in 2019.

Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage, operated by couple Tim and Laura Matranga, has been at its current location at 9thand T streets for two years, and was at the WAL Public Market for five years prior to that.

Kicksville has a wide selection of new and old vinyl and vintage goods, Tim Matranga says, and has one of the most extensive collections of 45 rpm records in Sacramento.

Proud of their selection of new vinyl records, Kicksville owners Laura and Tim Matranga are preparing for Record Store Day on April 23, when hundreds of new vinyl records are released and “lines will stretch down the street,” Tim Matranga says.

Pressed Record Café customer Rob Orbeta spins some vinyl in the store’s listening room.

Dean Bardouka, who along with partners John Blunck and James Williams, opened the combination record store and café at 17th and L streets in Sacramento in February 2021.

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