By Sammi Carpenter
Staff Writer

Vinyl records were popular in the 1950s through the 1980s, which was considered the golden age of vinyl. Although replaced by compact discs and digital music, they have started making a comeback.

Local real estate agent Lucas Soltow opened a new vinyl record shop located at 122 W 4th Ave. just west of Main Street. 

“I have been collecting vinyl for a while and opening a record store accomplished a few goals,” Soltow said. “One, it gives me an office for my real estate business because I have been officing out of my house for a while. Two, it allows me to buy and sell records which is a lot of fun. And three, I have a child with autism, and I opened this store to provide an equal opportunity for my son but also to provide opportunities for people like my son.”

Every job requires a certain amount of ability and skill set to acquire that certain job which can be harder for people with disabilities. In an already competitive environment, most people with disabilities do not make it past the interview stage.

“Most employers aren’t willing to go the extra mile to help bridge the gap between the lack of ability and what’s required for the job. A record store is a very laid-back place to work and since I own it I can kind of do what I want, so if I hire an employee who is maybe not the best employee or who requires more supervision, well that is my choice,” Soltow said. “I don’t care if my employees are the best at their job or not, that’s not why I hire them.”

With being a new shop in town and being the owner of it, Sotlow – a Hutchinson Community College alumnus – has more freedom to do what he wants with the store and what he sells.

“I hope the store becomes the place for people with a hobby of collecting vinyl and for people who just love music,” Soltow said. “I have a broad taste in music and I want to appeal to everyone’s music taste as much as possible. I want to sell Taylor Swift albums to her fans but then also sell country, rock, rap, jazz, and blues to people who like those genres. Along with selling records, we sell cassettes, CDs, memorabilia (hopefully), and stickers.”

Small businesses thrive off of the community’s feedback so they know what people love or what to fix/add.

“So far the feedback from the community has been good. I can tell that people want the record store to succeed.” Soltow said. “I have gotten a lot of compliments on my selection, partially because since it’s still new it hasn’t been cleaned out by collectors yet. I’ve had people come in from Wisconsin and Colorado saying that my selection is better than their hometown record stores. Collectors have been very complimentary about the quality of the records.” 

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