I always try to scout out a record store or two when visiting a city I’ve never been to. When heading to Las Vegas, I knew that Record City was going to be a definite destination. I didn’t happen until the last day of our vacation, but I’m sure glad it did. Record City has two locations in Las Vegas. I visited the E. Sahara St. store. It’s about a ten minute walk from the SLS Station at the end of the monorail. You can take in a trip up the Stratosphere tower while you’re there.
The other store is on E. Charleston Blvd. If you don’t know much about Vegas – I didn’t before we went there – Charleston Blvd is the longest east/west street in Vegas. Before the development of the Las Vegas strip, E. Charleston was at the south end of the Freemont Street strip of the original casinos. Locals, like my Uber driver, refer to this area as “Downtown”. Visitors like me just refer to it as Freemeont Street and it is marketed as “The Freemont Street Experience” by tourism agencies in Vegas. And it truly is an experience. If you go at night, be prepared for some of the lower levels of humanity. As one of our Uber drivers said, “You feel better about yourself after seeing the characters on Freemont”. All this non-vinyl background is to give some context for Record City. Like Freemont Street, Record City exudes the real Las Vegas experience.
I read reviews of Record City and my experience was in line with these reviews. When you arrive you question whether it is open. The area is a bit sketchy and the Record City sign is classic Vegas neon. What I loved was looking at review photos from 2008 with the “R” broken and burned out – just like it was fr my 2018 visit. It really is all about what is inside the store.
When I stepped inside I was greeted by Stacey who told me she and her dad owned Record City. The E. Sahara St. location has been open since 1991, but the store has operated at other locations since 1988.
If you’re looking for new vinyl releases, Record City has a great selection. If you’re interested in used vinyl, Record City is a crate digger’s dream. There are dozens of crates of $1 records. What I found in these crates was pretty good condition vinyl. I figure some of them made it into these crates simply because of the volume of copies available or because the sleeve wasn’t in great condition. I picked up a compy of Chicago VIII from 1975. The vinyl was in good shape, while the sleeve had seen better days. It was a fun find since this was the first band I ever saw live and it was just after this album was released, and believe it or not, the had a nine night stand in Vegas while I was there. There is nothing like the memories that flood back when you pull out an album that you hadn’t thought about in a few years. I still remember their encore was Old Days.
I’ve been on the hunt for Andreas Vollenweider vinyl and managed to find Down To the Moon at Record City for $5.99. The sleeve and vinyl were in great condition, so I considered this to be a super buy.
I had a nice chat with Stacey about the state of record collecting, online sales and the most interesting sales she has made lately.
While she couldn’t put a number on the volume of sales they were doing, she did confirm that sales had been steadily increasing over the past 5 or more years. I didn’t get a sense that she was being evasive about sales. It was more a matter of not needing to know that information. They were making enough sales to pay their staff and make a living. There was also no urgency to increase online sales through services like Discogs. Stacey was aware of Discogs and there was some interest, but there was also barely enough time to keep the stacks full with vinyl coming into the store.
According to Stacey, all of their used vinyl comes from Vegas locals bringing in their collections.
Some of the more interesting sales of late included the Beetles collector who cleaned out Record City of every Beetles collectable. He unfortunately was too late to get the Beetles Yesterday and Today Butcher cover edition. That was sold for about $600 previously.
Record City isn’t limited to vinyl. They also have a good selection of DVDs, and CDs, as well as some laser discs, cassettes and 8-tracks.
All in all a great find in Vegas.