The next hunt
As Dimple Records plans to close, mom-and-pop shops thrive
For the last decade, Dimple Records has been Neil Vann’s hunting ground for classic rock and heavy metal CDs.
“I have these lists I’ve been going through for years, and I just cross them off,” Vann said inside the Dimple Records on Broadway, showing several crumpled papers lined back-to-front with album names. “It’s been a hobby to rummage through all the stuff and see what you find.”
Vann is one of many customers who professed a love for LPs and CDs and Dimple Records, the 45-year-old chain that announced on June 18 that it would close all seven locations after selling their inventory. Owners John and Dilyn Radakovitz told the Sacramento Business Journal that factors for their decision include declining sales and the increasing California minimum wage.
On a recent night, dozens of customers packed the aisles of the Broadway store and flipped through the racks, taking advantage of a 20% to 40% discount on all merchandise, which includes music, movies, video games, books, comics and nerdy trinkets.
“You don’t want to see any local business close, no matter the reason,” said Dal Basi, owner of Phono Select Records on Fruitridge Road. “It’s not helpful for the overall economy. Having choices is important.”
Basi says it’s too early to tell how the Dimple closing will affect the regional market, noting the dearth of record stores in Folsom, Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova.
Music hunters, however, might find a new home in smaller music stores, many of which are thriving in Sacramento. While their selection and prices may not always match Dimple, the owners pride themselves in community-gathering and expertise.
“I know every record in this store, I’ve touched every record in this store,” said Marty DeAnda, who co-owns MediumRare Records & Collectibles/Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage inside the WAL Public Market on R Street.
The indoor-mall boutique is a fraction of Dimple’s size, but it packs about 6,000 hand-curated vinyls in near-mint condition, with prices from $22 to hundreds of dollars for the rarities. First and second pressings of the Beatles’ first song (before they were the Beatles) shimmer in a glass case for $300 to $350. For $80, there’s an original copy of Ritchie Valens’ debut behind the counter.
DeAnda and co-owners Tim and Laura Matranga (who own the Kicksville half of the store) boast more than 75 years of collecting experience combined. DeAnda specializes in rock, classic rock, classic jazz, country and blues. The Matrangas know garage rock, modern genres and local music. The corner of Kicksville showcases local bands, with vinyls by Vasas, Drug Apts. and Th’ Losin Streaks.
Eleven local independent shops have created a network to share their customer base and expertise, referring record lovers to each other. At Delta Breeze Records on 10th Street, co-owners Ben Johnson and Rick Daprato specialize in ’70s and ’80s funk, R&B, classical and deejay records. They also repair and sell record players and parts.
“A really good record store is a place where it’s … more of a social experience, almost like going to your neighborhood bar and the bartender knows you,” said Johnson, who predicts that he’ll see more traffic and trade-ins after the Dimple closures.
At Phono Select, punk rock, neo-soul and rare imports meet the Rambo: First Blood soundtrack. The store is decorated with local art and occasionally holds live music shows.
The Matrangas and DeAnda all said they’ve noticed increasing sales of used vinyls and cassettes, their main products. But the larger industry shows a different reality. In 2018, the Recording Industry Association of America reported that the music industry made 75% of its revenue from streaming platforms.
Still, DeAnda said he isn’t worried. “It’s all about the love, it’s not about anything else,” he said.