With the sale of vinyl records enjoying a resurgence in popularity, it's the right time to open a record shop if you can find a busy location and carry a wide-ranging inventory of different musical styles.
Investigate getting a business loan from the SBA or a local bank so that you will have the funds necessary to invest in purchasing your record inventory, along with cash register equipment, payroll expenses and other supplies. Choose a storefront that isn't too large; you can always expand, but you don't want to bite off more than you can chew at the beginning and wind up paying for space which is empty of both inventory and customers. An ideal spot is in a location with at least some pedestrian traffic, along with good parking and accessibility. Have large picture windows which allow people to see at least some of your record stacks; this will invite the curious in to browse and hopefully buy.
As you collect your inventory of records, check out other music collectibles that you can use to decorate the store including posters, memorabilia and unique album covers. All of these can be additional sales inventory. Although it's not mandatory to understand music to open a record store, the most successful record shop owners are those who love music, have their own personal collection of records and keep on top of trends in collectible record buying.
The best record store inventory to market is one that includes a wide variety of musical styles, from pop and classic to country & western and opera. Scour garage sales, flea markets and church rummage sales to buy as diverse an inventory as possible. Advertise in your local newspaper that you are seeking entire record collections to purchase. Once your store is up and running you can buy records brought in by customers either for cash or trade. This will help keep your inventory fresh and will attract regular customers to visit weekly to see what's new.
Most record store owners supplement their sales of vinyl records by also selling movies in VHS format, music CDs and movies in DVD format, which will bring a more diverse crowd to your store. Someone who came in to check the CD rack may find a movie or a record in addition to their CD purchase, which already triples your sales.
Market your inventory by celebrating musical anniversaries such as the date the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan's show or the last day the Mama's & the Papas performed together. With the trend for nostalgia still going strong, see if you can contact some of the recording artists whose records you feature and ask them to make an in-store personal appearance to generate excitement about your record shop.