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Play it again: Local record shop keeps spinning vinyl

Local music shop provides customers with great prices, and a better atmosphere.
The Corner Record Shop has something for everyone.

The Corner Record Shop has something for everyone. /Ian Sarnicola

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Location and Hours

The Corner Record Shop is located at :

35652 Chicago Drive SW

Grandville, MI 49418


Store Hours

Monday-Saturday: 11am-8pm

Sunday: 12pm-5pm

The dollar bin has great deals for everyone.

The dollar bin has great deals for everyone. /Ian Sarnicola

The Corner Record Shop also provides stereo equipment.

The Corner Record Shop also provides stereo equipment. /Ian Sarnicola

It's 1:00 pm on a Saturday afternoon, and the Corner Record Shop parking lot is full, forcing customers to find parking in the adjacent lot next door. Neil Young's Harvest is playing softly in the background, and the scent of Nag Champa incense fills the air. At the front counter, owner Steve Williamson is examining a stack of used vinyl. Customers ranging from their early teens to mid 60's shuffle through the isles as they peruse the various record bins.

Grandville, Michigan’s The Corner Record Shop has been open for nearly 13 years. The Corner Record Shop offers new and used vinyl, CD’s and DVD’s, and stereo equipment. Owner Steve Williamson attributes the shop’s recent success to the rise in vinyl popularity:

“Selling vinyl is what keeps me in my house. The CD’s and DVD’s are there, and we have a great selection. But the vinyl is what keeps us in business. Vinyl wasn’t chic when I opened, but there were a few people that never stopped listening to vinyl . . . they kept us in business. I’m just glad to see that vinyl is coming back," said Williamson.

The current vinyl trend may bring new customers into the store, but it’s the shop’s atmosphere that compel both new and old customers to come back.

“I know most of our customers . . . we run the store and the customers help us. I learn something new from people every time I come in here. All I do is provide a place where people can stumble in and find what they want to listen to. It’s more like a music co-op,” said Williamson.

Tony Vanvugt, a regular Corner Record Shop customer, makes it a habit to shop at Corner at least once per week.

“I’ve shopped at Corner since I was a freshman in high school,” said Vanvugt.  “There is this stigma about record stores... some people associate a sense of pretension and superiority with vinyl. I’ve never experienced that here.”

Williamson’s approach to running the shop is a simple one:

“We try to price [the vinyl] reasonably. We try to make it affordable for everybody at some point,” said Williamson.

One of the most visited sections in the shop is the “dollar bin." If customers are willing to spend a little bit of time digging through the various records, they’re sure to find something they’ll like.

“The dollar bin is notorious. We try to keep it in good shape. Every time we refill the bin it becomes a little beehive,”said Williamson.

The staff at Corner Record Shop are firm believers of supporting local music. Williamson encourages local bands to promote upcoming shows within the store, and has a small stage set up for in-store concerts. Williamson also has a unique policy regarding local artists hoping to sell their CD’s within the shop:

“If a local artist wants to sell their CD out of our shop, I don’t charge them anything. I think it’s great that they went through all the trouble of recording an album. I love live music, and I try to support it,” said Williamson.

The Corner Record Shop staff don’t plan on bowing down to the economic pressures that have forced other local businesses to close.

“We’re just going to do what we’ve always done . . . keep up with the vinyl. We have a ton in backstock; we can’t put it out fast enough. It’s a tough time right now, but we’ll keep going.”

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