The Spin: Flatland Records – Mobile Record Shop
When I saw this tweet last year, I was instantly intrigued.
— Flatland Records (@FlatlandRecords) September 13, 2017
Wait, what? A mobile record shop? That’s brilliant!
Following the popular geographic naming trend of Lubbock bands like The Flatlanders and Flatland Cavalry, the name fits perfectly. Step inside the semi-stationary shop and flip through an impressive collection of vinyl hand selected by owner Christian Romero. I sat down with him the other day to talk about his truck and the mobile vinyl business.
RS: What gave you the idea to start the records truck?
CR: My business partner and I really want to set up a brick-and-mortar store with music venue. We started with the truck as a marketing technique to build hype around the idea and to start getting some brand recognition.
RS: What events have you been apart of/going to be apart of?
CR: Flippers Tavern has a festival in the fall where we had our debut pop-up last year. We were thrilled to join the BLNKA Jam on Broadway this year in downtown Lubbock and hope to continue participating in their events. We’re a part of a small but growing house show community around Lubbock where we’ll set up the trailer. There are so many different music scenes in Lubbock, we’d like to be a part of as many of them as we can. We try to be at music festivals and other local music events. We’re all about supporting local music first.
RS: Where can people find the truck?
CR: We’ve been at First Friday Art Trail for a few months now. You can usually catch us out there in the LHUCA / CASP area. We’ll also be joining Chicago Station Market Days in August as a vendor. You can follow us on Instagram at @flatland_records to keep up with where we’ll be.
RS: How do you make money? Can people buy the records? How much are they?
CR: Selling records of course is the main business model, but we have shirts and stickers and some other merch. We’re a sell and trade shop so feel free to bring in your records to see if we can make a deal. With the resurgence of vinyl, we’re constantly getting new music to sell alongside the vintage albums; there’s a section of the truck dedicated to the new stuff.
Pricing is pegged as close to online prices hoping that locals would rather have the experience of flipping through a box of records supporting a local business as opposed to clicking through a website. Some are $2 some are $80, it just really depends on the album.
RS: How many records do are there in the truck at a given time?
CR: We’re constantly buying and selling so it obviously will vary – but I would say between 3,000-4,000 at any given time. It’s a constantly evolving collection though, so there’s always going to be something new in there today that I didn’t have yesterday.
RS: What has been challenging about this business?
CR: Really it’s gone a lot smoother than I expected. I think there were a lot of internal concerns about whether or not this concept would work, but the support has been incredible. The worst thing we’ve had happen so far was breaking a shelf in the trailer. There hasn’t been a big loss so far, just lessons learned. It’s been a fun ride.
RS: Do you have a favorite record?
CR: Oh, tough question… Right now I’m going to have to say Sturgil Simpson – Meta Modern Sounds of Country Music. It’s like this mid-century psychedelic outlaw country. You should really check it out. To round out the top three, it would have to be Blink 182’s self-titled record and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers debut album.
RS: Where do you get the records from?
CR: We trade a lot in our truck and really get a quality selection from that. We hunt through old record stores and thrift shops. Sometimes we get really lucky at a garage sale.
RS: You mentioned a business partner, how did you meet?
CR: Karson Nance is my business partner; he’s my neighbor. I just knocked on his door one day to introduce myself and that eventually flourished into a friendship.
RS: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
CR: The community of entrepreneurs in Lubbock is incredible – we wouldn’t exist without each other. This town is on the verge of blowing up. If you’re thinking about starting a business here, do it. Build a foundation here with deep roots, it will pay off.