If you go
What: Absolute Vinyl Records & Stereo
When: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday
Where: 319 Main St. Longmont
An oversized cut out of "Aladdin Sane"-era David Bowie peaked out from behind a dozen or so boxes of vinyl records marked "Bluegrass, Country & Americana. Ambient & Electronic and Hip Hop A-K" inside a downtown Longmont storefront Tuesday afternoon.
Mr. Bowie awaited his place on the walls inside Doug Gaddy's most recent incarnation of Absolute Vinyl Records & Stereo, opening a mere eight months after he shuttered his Boulder location that served vinyl fans for nearly a decade.
At the time, it seemed Gaddy was making a permanent exit from the realm of the brick-and-mortar record shop, a rarity in this age of online retail. The closure left Boulder with only two record stores, Bart's Records and Albums on the Hill. When Absolute Vinyl opens on Friday, Longmont will become a two record shop town. The other shop is Recycled Records LP.
So why the change of heart?
"I have no really good answer," Gaddy said. "My answer is I just can't stay out of trouble. The other is I got a really nice opportunity in this space. Every incarnation has been an experiment on how to make things work, and this is a new one in a new town."
The new shop, at 319 Main St., is smaller than the Boulder location and situated inside a deep and narrow brick lined retail space housed in a vintage building that likely predates the first phonographic record.
"There's no place to go but down," he said. "I can't go bigger, and I can't go more complicated, so I'm going to go more simple. I'm going to make it sort of like a room in your house.
Gaddy has painted parts of the interior with colors he says are period correct for what he considers the "Golden Age of Vinyl" — Harvest Gold and Avocado Green. It's not an attempt at being "retro" but a nod to two Neil Young albums from the early 1970s and Warner Bros. Records, respectively.
"'After the Gold Rush' came out in 1970 and 'Harvest' came out in 1972, so I've got some cultural resonance," he said. "And that green is kind of the same shade as the Warner Bros. company label."
Longmont resident Chris Dodge said he has been shopping at Absolute Vinyl since it was first located in north Boulder, so he is excited that Gaddy's new shop will be in downtown Longmont. He added that the shop should be a good addition to the flourishing downtown area.
"Downtown is really a neat place," he said. "I've lived in Longmont for 17 years. Downtown has not been what it is now. There's a sense of community. ... I think there is a need for what he is providing."
Dodge said the thrill of vinyl hunting is only part of the joy that comes with frequenting record shops. It's also the fellowship and conversations that await inside the doors.
"I run a restaurant," he said. "It's the same thing. We cook burgers. You can get a burger anywhere. It's the conversations you have with that server, that bartender that keep you coming back in."
Longmont resident Karen Kennedy has known Gaddy since the two placed competing bids on a pallet of records about 20 years ago. She has been painting walls inside the new shop, hanging rock posters and gifted Gaddy with some vintage speakers and Danish modern furniture.
"I'm really excited he is coming to Longmont," she said. "I've lived here for 25 years. Downtown is now becoming a destination shopping experience for people. There are a lot of new and exciting stores popping up."
She added that Gaddy's knowledge of genres from popular to obscure and his attention to detail has allowed him to keep a loyal customer base over the years. She believes people will come to the shop once word gets around.
"He goes over each record with a fine tooth comb," she said. "I know when I buy records, I know what I'm getting."
Gaddy said he wants to work with local musicians. Although he sells vinyl records, he has carried CDs if they are produced by local artists. He might bring back the Local Label Day event he held 2017 as an alternative to Record Store Day. He also will carry some stereo equipment and turntables, mostly new for the time being.
"I'll do what I know," he said. "I'm not going be selling black metal, because I really don't know anything about that kind of music. If a nice collection walks in, I'll grab it, but it's going to be a mix of soul and jazz and fun and acoustic music. Blue grass, you know, related folk music and, of course, rock'n'roll."