BREAKING RECORDS: Sales are hot at one of region’s largest vinyl music stores


AURORA | It’ll be easy to mistake this shopping center in Aurora for the Red Rocks parking lot this weekend.

Between the barbecue grills, live music and the milling crowds eager to get their latest music fix, the lot in front of Angelo’s CDs & More will have more in common with a music festival than your typical strip mall. From the stroke of midnight on April 19 to closing time 21 hours later, the staff and customers at the Angelo’s store on Iliff Avenue and Buckley Road will be in
celebration mode.

The party will coincide with Record Store Day, a consumer holiday that started out of one independent Baltimore record store in 2007 and blossomed into a national consumer phenomenon. This year, the third Saturday of April will see the release of hundreds of rare vinyls by contemporary and classic artists. The list of 2014 releases includes titles from hip rock outfits like Bastille, jam band heroes like Jerry Garcia, thrash metal rebels like Ghoul and classic rock vets like the Allman Brothers.

Since its unassuming debut seven years ago, Record Store Day has grown into a national tribute to the brick-and-mortar music shop. At stores like Angelo’s, it’s become an annual party for new customers and loyal shoppers alike.

“The last time I did the midnight sale here, I showed up around 11:45 p.m. and there was a line of 15 people outside just waiting to get in,” said Alex Gierczak, an Angelo’s employee. “It gets to the point where people are climbing over each other trying to get pieces of vinyl … And they’re always after the exact same ones.”

For such obsessive fans, Record Store Day takes on the urgency of Black Friday and the excitement of a big rock show. The event isn’t simply a bid to bring in the die hard audiophiles. The event will be a chance to show off its diversity to a bigger consumer base. It’s a chance to spotlight the store’s growing commitment to rare vinyl as a part of its standard business model, but it’s
also an opportunity to show off just how diverse the store’s stock has become. Store manager Marcel Veal is quick to point how new and used vinyl has become a critical part of the store’s merchandise, but that’s only part of the model here. The store offers products ranging from smoke paraphernalia to handmade T-shirts. Even so, vinyl and vinyl players have turned into one of the staples of this business.

“Our whole vinyl situation has grown. Three years ago, we carried about 8,000 vinyl. We’re at about 15,000,” Veal said as he strolled around the store and pointed to racks of records and shelves crammed with vinyl players. “It’s so big, that we’re making an extra room for collector’s pieces.”

That room at the back of the store is still coming together, but it will house the rarest and most expensive titles in the store’s catalogue. That’s only one of the specialized sections at this store, the first in a chain that now comprises four locations across the city. The Aurora store has already moved to capitalize on the city’s ever-evolving policy regarding recreational marijuana — before any pot shop opens within the city, Angelo’s already has a mini head-shop set up in the back. In addition, the store offers custom-made T-shirts, Fender guitars, jewelry and tattoo equipment.

Making the stock more diverse has been a major part of the store’s bid to survive in the era of iTunes and Spotify, and it’s paid off. Owner Angelo Coiro opened his first store in Aurora more than 20 years ago, and has since expanded to high-profile locations across the metro area. In addition to another suburban location in Wheat Ridge, Coiro opened two new stores in Denver within the past year.

One of the new sites is in the former Independent Records building on East Colfax Avenue in Denver, mere blocks from both the Ogden and the Fillmore theaters, two of the city’s most renowned music venues. The other new location is on South Broadway, and boasts an even bigger vinyl library than the store in Aurora.

“Broadway is now the biggest with two stories. In about a year, it will be the largest vinyl collection in Colorado,” Veal said, adding that the Denver store’s library was at about 15,000 when they opened last July. “But this is the mother store.”

There are plenty of audiophiles to serve in Aurora, and the upcoming Record Store Day celebration is proof. A week before the special midnight opening and daylong events, the back room of the building on Iliff was already crowded with boxes of limited edition Record Store Day vinyl. Store managers ordered titles they knew would appeal to the most virulent breed of fans — Veal is already betting that a limited-edition Jerry Garcia box set will sell faster than they can stock it on the shelves.

But the day is also a chance to welcome new customers, buyers lured by a new release who have forgotten about the charm of a physical store. They may come back because of the selection of instruments, T-shirts or jewelry, but music remains the main draw here.

“Every time we do those midnight sales, we’re partying with the customers outside before we open the doors,” Veal said. “It never fails. We always find someone who says, ‘It’s my first time here.’ It’s always exciting.”


Reach reporter Adam Goldstein at 720-449-9707 or [email protected]