Adventures In The Vinyl Trade: Doc's Records' Dave Howard
All photos by Kat Shimamoto Dave Howard: "It's a great working environment. We can swear on the clock."
Every so often, we get to wondering what people in the local music community do all day. So, we asked them. Today, Ken Shimamoto checks in with Doc's Records employee Dave Howard, and learns a little about the life of a record store clerk in 2012.
I grew up in record stores: from the musty, dusty spot where my dad used to buy his opera records, to the Sam Goody's in the mall that seemed like it must have had every record ever made, to the "underground" record store where I worked as a teenager. I learned a lot thumbing through the racks and listening to the chatter of the people who worked and shopped in those stores - probably as much as I did from perusing rock mags.
When I moved to Dallas in '78, I briefly worked at Peaches Records and Tapes at Cole and Fitzhugh, then moved to Fort Worth to open a record store at 6393 Camp Bowie Blvd., which the man that brought me here would run for the next 25 years under four different corporations (Peaches, Sound Warehouse, Blockbuster Music, and Wherehouse Music). I worked there, off and on, under three of those logos.
Back in July 2009, I was thrilled to learn there was a record store opening in my Fort Worth neighborhood. Doc's Records and Vintage is a mom 'n' pop - or, more precisely, dad 'n' son - that retired dentist Jerry Boyd and his son Jenkins Boyd operated in Hurst for several years before relocating to 2111 Montgomery St. I was able to experience a thrill I hadn't expected to enjoy again in this lifetime: walking home with a vinyl LP under my arm. It was like being 14 again.
I was sad when Doc's moved to a more distant location at 9522 Camp Bowie West last year. But business has been good, and Record Store Day 2012 was the busiest in Doc's history. The bins are well stocked, with a stage at the back of the store, adorned with some of Jerry Boyd's original paintings, that's played host to a number of bands and solo artists.
Dr. Jerry "Doc" Boyd
Dave Howard, 35, who's worked at Doc's since October 2010, is a former Half Price Books employee, bassist in the Satans of Soft Rock, and doorman at Dan's Silverleaf. I recently interrupted him while he was shelving soul LPs to ask him about the current state of the vinyl trade.
What's a workday at Doc's like for you?
I come in, open up, turn on the black light hallway. You've got to turn on the Christmas lights, turn on the AC. I do ordering, so I'll order new stuff. I'll check and see what sold. Go through back stock to see if we have multiple copies that need to be replaced. It usually takes a while for things to pick up. Sometimes there are people waiting outside, sometimes no one will come in for the first hour. I think people are just catching on that we carry new stuff and we're not just a used store. We carry stuff we think will sell, and stuff we think is interesting and want to turn people on to.
Who shops at Doc's?
We get people from all over DFW and all over the world: Japan, Europe, South America. We get young kids that got their first record player. They're picking up "my first album" type stuff -- Zeppelin, Stones, Beatles - and then maybe delving a bit deeper. We get people that tell us they're glad we're here. The people that shop here the most are older white guys that collect records and have been for a long time. They've been doing it forever, and they don't ask a lot of questions.
What are your interactions with customers like?
There's a lot of reminiscing. People come in well informed. They know what they want, or maybe they're just looking for something rare. There are people who collect white-label promos only, or Japanese pressings only, or people that just want the original release. People that only collect 45s, people that collect 78s. They're the biggest weirdos among record collectors.