LANSING, Mich. — There are more than 60 record stores in Michigan, but only one is owned by a woman. DeWitt resident and owner of The Record Lounge, Heather Frarey, is that woman. Her shop is right here in REO Town.
“It’s amazing. I always want to shop here," said vinyl collector Ella Spencer. "Women-owned businesses are incredible especially in a music scene, because that’s kind of hard to find.”
“I worked really hard to get to this point," Frarey said. "My husband and I, we were in a bad motorcycle accident in ’99.”
Frarey was a dental assistant in 2007 when she realized that because of the accident, she was no longer able to stand for long periods of time. So, she had to find something new.
“The only thing I knew was music and vinyl,” Frarey said. She worked at a record shop when she was in high school.
Frarey opened The Record Lounge on January 2, 2008. The original location was in East Lansing, but it moved to REO Town in April 2017. Thirteen years later, her record store is thriving.
But, it wasn't always that way.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it to be honest," Frarey said. "Money was a big thing. Vinyl in 2008...wasn’t a huge thing.”
Frarey’s employee Joe Ross started as a customer nearly 11 years ago.
“Back then it wasn’t necessarily a really big thing to buy albums, so it’s been interesting to see stuff be like super cheap to now going up in price," Ross said.
In 2020, vinyl sales saw a huge boom. Frarey said when she reopened her shop that June, after being closed for four months due to COVID-19, she was blown away by the number of customers. Record Store Day earlier this month also saw record sales.
“Our biggest day ever, in 13 years, was that Saturday," Frarey said.
“I love vinyl," Spencer said. "I feel like it’s a lot more fun to listen to a whole record like all the way through. Also, having something that you can hold onto and look at – a lot of vinyls come with books or posters so like, it’s a whole experience, rather than just throwing a song on over streaming.”
Now Frarey’s biggest obstacle is buying used vinyl for the store.
“Now everybody’s either keeping it or giving it to their kids" Frarey said. "We’re not getting a lot of good used stuff in right now.”
Frarey said she will pay customers who bring in their used records.
“Anything from the ‘70s on," Frarey said. "That’s what we’re looking for.”
Unlike past years, a second Record Store Day is set for Saturday, July 17.
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