After our recent 10th anniversary celebration for Evansville Living came to a conclusion, it was again time to roll up our sleeves on the next two deadlines: Home Away From Home, the Ronald McDonald House special magazine and tour guidebook you recently received in your mailbox (then subscribe!), and this issue of Evansville Business.
When reviewing the editorial content for Evansville Business, one story leaped off the page and drove home how absolutely wrong I could be about a potential business model. On page 18 of this issue in our Niche Business story, Joe Smith of Joe’s Records tells readers of opening his fourth music store in an era of major chain retailers and with smartphone/iPod technology allowing instant digital downloads. I do not know if Mr. Smith remembers, but several years ago I sat in the offices of the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana, then located in the Old Post Office, and listened to him pitch his very entrepreneurial and ambitious business plan.
As a longtime audiophile, I listened carefully to his passion for music and how his customer service would be “different” than what is encountered elsewhere. And, an emphasis on selling vinyl again? At this time, no one I knew (including several other stereophiles) even had thought about bringing from the basement their old stacks of wax next to their turntable collecting dust on a long-forgotten shelf. I remember being fairly polite but blunt in my assessment, albeit a bit intrigued. Well, I just could not have been more wrong as Smith has been at the forefront of the return to vinyl (hear what you’ve been missing, CD fans!), and I love the independent record store experience that had been absent since my misspent youth.
Why I particularly like Joe’s Records is that if you like music, there is literally everything from ABBA to Zappa inside with great friendly and knowledgeable service. And, why does this story resonate with me so much? Eleven years ago, many people from all walks heard my “pitch” about magazine publishing, and while many were supportive, plenty also questioned our ability to produce a high-quality magazine here. Well, thanks, Joe, for having the vision to give us the kind of stores that truly are indicative of a community’s fabric.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Todd A. Tucker