by Brandon Darnell - Sacramento Press
Marty DeAnda started a vinyl record store by accident with a little help from Louis Armstrong.
Medium Rare Records is in the offices of the Dig Music label, which DeAnda co-founded. The label represents local artists such as Jackie Greene, Chris Webster and Sal Valentino.
The office, visible from the sidewalk, featured a mannequin of Louis Armstrong in the window, staring out at 20th Street, and passers-by routinely came in to ask about it.
“I’d have 30 people coming by each day,” DeAnda said. “I figured I might as well sell them something, so I brought some records from home. All of a sudden we had a store.”
The store officially opened in late November, but DeAnda said he has been bringing records in for the past year.
“We sell only quality vinyl records and collectibles,” DeAnda said, adding that he caters to buyers who are serious about music, but not looking to drop hundreds of dollars on an album.
“That’s how I came up with the Medium Rare name,” he said. “It’s about those people in the middle – those people who want a vinyl record of The Beach Boys or Jimi Hendrix but aren’t looking for something extra rare.”
DeAnda grades the condition of each record in his store, which he writes on a label and sticks on a plastic sleeve. Customers are asked not to remove the records so as to prevent damaging them.
“If they want to buy it, and they come to the counter, I’ll take it out for them to look at, but I just don’t want 30 people taking it out and handling it and taking away the quality,” DeAnda said.
The only CDs in the store are those put out by artists on the Dig Music label.
DeAnda said there has been something of a resurgence of interest in vinyl records despite the apparent dominance of digital music.
“The sound is just warmer on vinyl,” DeAnda said. “The new generation seems to have rediscovered it. In an era where you can sit under the covers in your Snuggie and listen to an entire album for free and then download the single you like, people miss the ceremony of buying music.”
Despite the recession, other music stores have opened in Sacramento in the past year as well, including Dimple Records, Phono Select Records and ZuhG Life.
DeAnda – a sixth-generation Sacramentan – said he knows the other local music store owners, and he added that they focus on different markets and don’t really compete against one another.
“Everybody’s got a different group of people they appeal to,” DeAnda said. “We’re where the 30-year-olds to the 70-year-olds come for good used vinyl.”
Nich Lujan, co-owner of Phono Select Records, agreed. He stopped by Medium Rare Records and Collectibles Tuesday afternoon to pick up some printing he’d had done.
“We’re absolutely not competitors,” he said. “We help each other out.”
Lujan said more record stores opening in the area is a good thing for the local industry, since many collectors will make a trip to multiple stores in search of the records they seek.
Brent Zane stopped by the store for the first time Tuesday afternoon to sell some records he’s picked up over the years as a musician.
“Right off the bat, it looks good,” he said. “There’s not a bunch of garbage – it looks like a quality used records store.”
Urban Hive owner Brandon Weber said having the store is a boon to his business.
“It’s great to have them,” he said. “It’s easy to walk in and find something good. You don’t have to dig for it. They do the digging for you.”
Kari Shipman works out of The Urban Hive, and she said DeAnda is “the perfect person” to operate the store because of his knowledge of music.
“He has a deep appreciation for the music,” she said, adding that she has shopped at his store to pick up music for her brother.
Medium Rare Records and Collectibles is open from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturdays, or by appointment. Visit the store online by clicking HERE!