Arizona and New Mexico record stores

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by jlc76, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Mr. LP Collector

    Mr. LP Collector Well-Known Member

    Weighing in on the Bookman's stores in Arizona.

    I enjoy going through their stores as I love reading books as well as buying tunes. It always has me shaking my head regarding how they make it. I say that for this reason: Over the last two dozen visits in their stores I haven't seen anyone pay cash, it always has been credit slips. It wasn't that long ago that they had A and B trade separated, they now have it set up in "just trade." IMO their book sales have been slumping as well.

    The problem with vinyl is how you have too many people with the price gun. The 19th and Northern store needs to have a sidewalk sale on their vinyl in the worst way. They also need to have one person who has extensive knowledge on vinyl handle the purchasing. Occasionally you could find a gem in the bins cheap, but even if you don't you would expect the basic three to four dollar selection to be properly graded. The Mesa location IMO doesn't have that problem as the lp buyer for that store knows condition and what to look for regarding lp inserts, re-issue pressings, etc. But 70's lp's like Fogelberg, Streisand, Foreigner, Styx, Journey, etc., etc. should not be over four dollars with the exception of WLP's, radio shows, import pressings, MFSL's, etc.

    The Mesa location surprises me as to the amount of vinyl in their bins, looked to me like the Northern store had 50% more then the Mesa store. One thing about the Mesa store--there's always been problems with people spare changing out in the parking lot, the last time I was there there were no problems. But it sure has been a problem in the past!
     
  2. LordThanos1969

    LordThanos1969 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Every once in a great while, I can find vinyl worth purchasing in the Mesa location. Unfortunately, most of the good stuff is overpriced at best. At least their vinyl section is much better than the collection of ratty, beat-up junk that is found at the Phoenix (19th and Northern) store. I am not even willing to dig in that mess.

    Both Bookman's stores are in economically challenged areas. It is interesting that Half Price Books, one of their main competitors, has at least two stores in upscale parts of town. Unfortunately, Half Price Books is pretty pathetic for vinyl too.

    Speaking of vinyl, here are a few random observations about the other stores I frequent:
    • The Record Room in Scottsdale has become my go to place. They usually price to sell, so you have to go often and get there fast when they post on Facebook that a collection has arrived. The owner and employee are both good guys and very helpful.
    • I rarely go to Revolver Records anymore. The Phoenix store is surrounded by construction that is a pain to get around, and the Tempe store almost never has anything that is worth purchasing that isn't overpriced. They used to have a good selection of supplies, such as MFSL rice paper sleeves, but they seem to neglect these things now.
    • Record Revival has expanded since it first opened, and the majority of the crazy prices have been reduced to a reasonable amount. You can also search the best stock on eBay and pounce on something that has been discounted. The store manager and employees are good to deal with especially when you become a regular. They just opened a second store in Seattle, so their stock of rock records is depleted.
    • Tracks in Wax is still going strong despite some rumors I had heard of it being sold or closed. They recently got one incredible collection in that included some high grade, vintage Beatles items, but Perry Cox swallowed them up before I could see them.
    • I finally got to visit Record High. It is a small but interesting store. They do not have a huge selection, but what they have is in very nice condition. If you are into jazz, this might be the best store in town for you. They also focus on audiophile pressings, but most are from recent years and they carry too much of that Simply Vinyl junk. They are only open on certain days with limited hours, so calling before going is recommended.
    • I do not find too much vinyl worth purchasing at Zia Records these days. Avoid the Chandler location, as they are moving in September and have shrunk their vinyl collection down to a fraction of what it once was. At the other locations, I do find things that have been under-priced once in a while, sometimes significantly, so I do not mind searching the bins a bit at any of them.
    • I rarely ever stop in to Asylum Records anymore. The last few times I went there it seemed like they hadn't gotten in any new stock in a long time.
    • I don't find too much of interest at Stinkweeds. Their focus seems to be more on new vinyl and recent artists. Every now and then, they will get some older used material that is interesting. Sometimes it is priced reasonably.
    • Double Nickles Collective is a big store with multiple vendors, including Stinkweeds and Record High, selling their wares. The best stuff is still to be found in the Eastside Records area of the store.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
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  3. Mr. LP Collector

    Mr. LP Collector Well-Known Member

    Great comments Lord Thanos1969!

    Yes, sadly Bookman's areas in both locations aren't hoity toity, for sure. I don't live in the Phoenix area but come through four times a year to visit a high school buddy and my cousin. Regarding those areas, I certainly have seen change. The Marie Calendar's and other businesses down the road from the 19th and Northern store,, were knocked down- whew that came in a hurry!

    The one store I miss after all these years was the Rockaway store on Southern. It WAS good to see one of Rockaway's employees working at Revolver (Roger). Good guy! Thanks for the tip regarding the road construction, am pretty sure it isn't helping their business very much.

    Good to see Tracks in Wax still going after all these years. The first time I was in there was super bowl weekend in 1988. I'd met Dennis years before, they lived in the Denver area in the early 70's, I would always run into him and his brother at the Bonanza Flea Market. It was sad to hear of his passing.

    Yes, Scottsdale's Record Room--good store! They know pressings, labels, condition. Friendly staff as well!
     
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  4. LordThanos1969

    LordThanos1969 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Mr. LP Collector, thanks for bringing up Rockaway Records. That was the first record store I ever went to back when I first moved to Phoenix in 1984, which may have been the year it opened or close to it. That was a great store, and I always seemed to be able to find something to purchase there. Good Times!
     
  5. noiseannoys

    noiseannoys Member

    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Drove into NM for a short trip recently...

    Charley's had some decent records that I purchased, but the rest of the stock looked like it had been there a while.

    Nob Hill records- looked thru the bins, nothing special, real scores are the cheap records. Found more of what I wanted in there and cheap.

    Mecca Books- kind of disorganized, store had a more interesting selection than he other two.

    Anyone been to "We Buy Music"?

    There were two stores in Santa Fe, both with pretty small selections and one having better titles.

    Also one in Taos, didn't find much there either....
     
  6. shinedaddy

    shinedaddy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Village, Ca

    If you went to Rockaway on Southern anytime during 1996-1999 (?) you would have seen me working there. Roger was my manager, and was there when I was hired. Cool group of people to work for, the Johnsons, who still operate Rockaway in LA. Only record store I ever worked at that gave you a quiz on music history/rock music, which of course I aced. I would have been the very lean, tall guy with long blond curly hair, the Robert Plant look-a-like. Ever see me there?

    I cant remember the last year I worked there off the top of my head, but it was incredibly fun. It was ruined when they moved from that GIANT store to a tiny one a few doors down, killed the vibe totally, but while it lasted it was the most amazing job I ever had. If I told you the absolutely crazy stuff we did you wouldnt believe me.......but I can say with all honesty that after Roger left and I was shift leader, there is no other store on the planet that was more corrupt, more politically incorrect, more fun, and more dangerous to shop in!!! The sex, the volume, the fights with shoppers (fisticuffs I mean), the flames, the puppet shows, the flying Coke, the alcohol (god, so much alcohol!), the fights at the trade counter between employees for new turn ins, I could go on. I was a very "interesting" manager.....ah, those memories!!
     
  7. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk Believe In Music

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    If you worked there during that period then we have met because I was a regular. It was Allen that owned the store here and his brother the one in LA if I remember correctly. I always say hello to Roger when I see him and if again memory serves me I sold him a bicycle of mine.
     
  8. shinedaddy

    shinedaddy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Village, Ca
    thats cool, do you remember seeing a 6'2" tall skinny blond guy who looked like the Robert Plant? If so that was me...... I generally worked nights by choice but after Roger left I worked a lot more. Alan was the AZ owner, 2 brothers still do the LA store, I see them at the record shows down there.

    I loved that job. I met some great people and had the time of my life there. did you ever see the crazy stuff the night crew would do? did you ever see me do shots of alcohol and then do a puppet show on the trade counter? Or sometimes remove my shirt and allow a customer to cover me in Coca Cola?or the time the game guy Kris practically molested a dog as his owner watched? or when I set that customers cd on fire, then stomped on it so they would leave? or when I got in trouble for flirting with girls I thought were old enough but werent? or when Gabe got into a fight with a customer that almost got us all arrested? did you ever walk into the store at night to find all three employees smashed (or maybe just me, I would sometimes send the other 2 to the movies down the street)?

    good times. that is 1% of the debauchery but I cant go on.....

    did we ever have a conversation about music?
     
  9. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk Believe In Music

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    I do remember the taller guy with long hair. I don't believe I spoke to you as much as I did to Allen and Roger but definitely had a couple of conversations beyond hello, how are you. Even back then I was one of the older guys who came in and many times wearing a shirt and tie because I was coming from work. I use to have quite a few extended conversations with Allen.

    The majority of times I was in the store would have been late afternoon, early evening or during the days on the weekend.

    I'm trying to remember that the store morphed into another shop, maybe The Rock Zone, which I think was on Guadalupe and Warner and then morphed and moved again up onto University and the 101.
     
  10. shinedaddy

    shinedaddy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Valley Village, Ca
    i would have been mid 20's at that point.
     
  11. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk Believe In Music

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    I'm certain we have met and said hello multiple times in the store
     
  12. LordThanos1969

    LordThanos1969 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    I do remember you being there. I was typically there on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, and I think you were working the register.

    I didn't mind the tiny store, but it was the beginning of the end. The manager there, Katy (Katie?), was a friend of mine, but I think she either quit or was fired. By the time the store moved again to Baseline Road, the end was near. It was depressing to see it be sold to different owners and become Rockzone, a store I despised.
     
  13. Mr. LP Collector

    Mr. LP Collector Well-Known Member

    I came in from out of state but would visit the Phoenix area three, maybe four times a year. I was at their Baseline store a few times but loved their Southern Ave. location. Alan the owner employed good people, one who works at Revolver Records (Roger). Good guy! Another good guy they had there was Larry Horn. I do remember Katy as well, nice gal! And there were several others! What I would do is stay at the Motel 6 off Country Club Dr., and also do some trading at Bookman's just up the ways from Rockaway. And spend an extra day going to other stores, like Tracks In Wax. I also tried the Half Price store further east on Southern but didn't buy much. Even though the Motel 6 was a tad sketchy, I never had any problems. I would also squeeze in a concert or two at the Mesa Performing Arts Center. Good venue!

    What helped Alan was some of the back stock their brothers in L.A. would send out to him. He and the crew would always treat me right, be it strictly purchasing or part trade, part purchasing. They were easily IMO the best store going in the Phoenix area when they were around.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  14. LordThanos1969

    LordThanos1969 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    I just read in the Tucson weekly that PDO records is back in business under the original owner. The store manager is Duane, who one of the nicest employees when the store was in its heyday. I will be going there in a few weeks and will write a review here.
     
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  15. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk Believe In Music

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Who would have thought. I'll get down there to check it out in the next few weeks
     
  16. Mr. LP Collector

    Mr. LP Collector Well-Known Member

    Myself as well. Thanks for the tip Lord Thanos!
     
  17. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk Believe In Music

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Reading an earlier post I see mention of Half Priced Books and it got me to thinking am I missing something in the Phoenix area. My interest are specifically used CD or SACD. Currently I frequent/check out the following locations:

    • Zia all locations
    • FYE all locations
    • Bookman's both locations
    • Stinkweed's
    • Revolver both locations
    What am I missing? Are Half Priced Book locations worthwhile for other than vinyl? Any others for CD and SACD?
     
  18. LordThanos1969

    LordThanos1969 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    You aren't missing much at any of the Half Price Books locations in the greater Phoenix area. They rarely have anything worthwhile when it comes to CDs, SACDs, or vinyl. They do not offer trade and pay terribly, so people are more tempted to sell/trade to Zia or Bookman's. I live very near the Phoenix store and stop in there frequently, and I can't remember the last time I found a good CD or SACD there.

    If you can get to the eastern half of Texas, you can find some things at their stores there once in a while. There is a lot of variation from location to location. The established stores have better stock. The newer stores are almost always awful.
     
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  19. Mr. LP Collector

    Mr. LP Collector Well-Known Member

    Agreed! I've only been to the Half Price store on Southern in Mesa once. The only thing about this store that appealed to me was their book section regarding all the four corners states. Vinyl selection was below average and like LT mentioned their trading policy doesn't encourage people to come back. The Mesa store is not that far from Country Club Dr. where Bookman's is.

    Regarding those Dallas area stores, yes!, LordThanos1969 is right. When the Wichita/OKC/Tulsa/Dallas shows were going good in the late 1980's to the late 1990's, I would spend an extra day in the Dallas area to hit what Half Price stores I could. The best one IMO was the one on Central Expressway WAY down on the south end. I was always treated fairly there regarding buying and trading.

    The record shows for years were generally held at the hotels on Central Expressway and Campbell. There was one Half Price store only 5 or 6 minutes from the hotel where the record shows were held, got real lucky there when it first opened. Haven't been back in years, then again SW promotions dropped that record show run years ago. Good times.
     
  20. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Thanks for this. I've only been to Revolver - nothing great.
     
  21. LordThanos1969

    LordThanos1969 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    A new store has opened up in Mesa at the shopping center on the NW corner of University and Lindsay, near Discount Tire. I think it is named The Used Depot, but I cannot be sure because neither the price sticker on the CD I purchased nor the receipt I received had the store name present. This store carries used CDs, vinyl, DVDs, and games. It was a bit like a poor man's FYE with lower priced merchandise.

    The CD section was smallish and lame for the most part, but I did see a few common Target CDs in their CD section. Unfortunately, all of them and most of the other CDs I looked at were in rough shape. I ended up purchasing the rarest of the Target CDs they had there, and for a change, I actually asked them to buff the CD due to it having numerous scratches.

    The vinyl section was boring with mostly common or forgettable records. I was also told that the better vinyl records were kept in the back and listed on eBay exclusively, because the store did not think the locals would appreciate more expensive merchandise.

    It will be interesting to see if this place can get enough foot traffic and inventory to make a go of it.
     
  22. LordThanos1969

    LordThanos1969 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    I found the name of the store, House of Used. It was on the receipt after all.
     
  23. Mr. LP Collector

    Mr. LP Collector Well-Known Member

    The same thing with me when I was in there last March. The thing they need to do is have a sidewalk sale making your basic ho hum late 70's-mid 80's lp's a dollar at nine o'clock, fifty cents at noon, and five for a dollar at three in the afternoon. And start over. This Bookman's seems to always rotate their employees around the store to work in different departments-probably nothing wrong with that but in regards to buying they need to have one person who understands CONDITION!! I'm not a real fan of having to get on the floor to look at vinyl. I understand them utilizing the space, but at least put your better than average lp's up top and your overstock dollar blowout lp's underneath.

    At the Mesa store it seems that one person (can't think of her name) basically does the lp's regarding buying/trading. And the good thing is the condition has always been pretty good, at least with me anyway. Over the last few years the pricing has gone wackjob on a lot of things but some genres I've found some nice items fairly cheap, one of those genres being 50's-60's Country. I didn't find any Patsy Clines, Johnny Cash Suns or Hank Williams Sr. in there but picked up some Hank Thompson/Brazos Valley Boys, Bob Wills, and Sons Of the Pioneers that were in nice shape for a good price. The rock selection in there is ALWAYS going to be hit hard there but still I've found some interesting things. Same with Jazz. One time I got really lucky with some nice Flying Fish label Bluegrass stuff (John Hartford, New Grass Revival, Dillards, etc.



    ADD-----Question for Lord Thanos and other Phoenix area collectors. It's been a while since I've been to the Phoenix record shows. I am familiar w/ the one at the Italian American club (location escapes me), it's my understanding that another individual has one in a different part of the area. Yes? No?
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  24. LordThanos1969

    LordThanos1969 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    The answer is No. There used to be one at the VFW a few years ago, but that is no longer happening. The Italian American club show on 12th Street near Glendale is the only regularly scheduled show.
     
  25. LordThanos1969

    LordThanos1969 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    I went to PDQ today, and outside of nostalgia, it was a complete waste of time. The store was dusty and appeared to still be under construction. The CD selection was disorganized and unimpressive. The rock records looked like they had all been picked through from the last time the store was open, and most everything I looked at was overpriced. It was also annoying how much dust was on all the outer plastic covers and the large number of records for which you have to go to the counter to have the employees open them for you. I know some on here may feel differently, but I actually wish they had not tarnished their legacy by reopening.
     

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