We Bought 30,000 Records!

A few weeks ago we were talking about the state of our little record store: How we needed some different stock; what we wanted the store to represent; our vision for the future.

As we discussed where we were and where we wanted to be, one thing became absolutely clear. We needed more vinyl records.

So we began to brainstorm how to expand. Sara thought to herself, “Wouldn’t it be great if we were to find a store where the owners were retiring, people who loved vinyl records as much as Eric does, and we could buy out their inventory?”

The following day, while perusing Ebay, Sara stumbled on a post of a store that had just closed. After 43 years, the owners were retiring. Their entire inventory was up for bid.

Excited, possibly dubious, incredibly hopeful, Eric and Sara spent some time dreaming. But the truth was, the price asked for was a bit out of our price range. So we gave up.

Then, on a whim, Sara sent the owners a note and asked if they might consider a low-ball offer. The worst thing that could happen, Sara reasoned, was that the owners would reject the offer. The best thing that could happen, she told Eric, is that an opportunity might open up.

Two days later Sara & Eric received a note from the owners. They simply said, “If you can do $XXX, we’d like to say congratulations!”

The counter offer was amazingly doable!

So we cashed in our credit card points and bought two one-way tickets to Philly for Friday morning to go check out the inventory.

We had no idea if we would fly home, come back in a U-haul, or have to rent a car.

We also had no idea if there was anything good left in the inventory or if it was just 30,000 Air Supply albums.

We hardly slept Thursday. We closed the store at 9, drove Zoey (our little dog) to our nieces house almost two hours away, then drove to the airport. 

We went to 7 hotels before we finally found an $84 room at Hotel 6 (the pot and tobacco smell was pretty awful!), and slept three hours before getting up to catch our flight. Each of us were still in the same clothes! 

We arrived in Philadelphia, rented a car, grabbed a quick lunch, and then met Max Million and Harold Gold, owners of Gold Million Records located in Bryn Mawr, PA.

They are the warmest, kindest people you could imagine, and their dog, Leo, quickly won us over.

The Wall of Fame: The Days of Plastic Fantastics, later known as Gold Million Records.

The Wall of Fame: The Days of Plastic Fantastics, later known as Gold Million Records.

43-years of business in the Philadelphia area, Gold Million Records is epic. Joan Jett, the Police, the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie… all were in the store in their early years signing records.

Their “Wall of Fame” featured pictures of so many greats. It was truly like walking through rock-n-roll history.

Slightly starstruck and hugely overwhelmed, we began to evaluate the inventory.

Max and Harold were the perfect hosts, pointing us to coffee shops when a break was needed; providing water, time, and encouragement as we talked through the possibilities, the potential, and even our overwhelm.

We stayed at the Wyndham Alumnae House of the Bryn Mawr College, which was one of the quaintest and most comfortable B&Bs ever.

After a full day of examining the inventory, and feeling beyond exhausted, we returned to the Wyndham House, ordered some Chinese from Grub Hub, and discussed briefly whether we would go all in and buy the inventory or return to Georgia empty-handed.

Then we slept on it.

The following morning, having decided to move forward, we planned to make a counter offer to Max & Harold. But they beat us to it, offering the exact price we’d decided on, and we made a deal.

We immediately made arrangements to pack up the records. We reserved a U-haul and 350 small boxes. We hired two separate moving crews to pack and load. We were scheduled to begin the next day, on Sunday.

At Gold Million Records, Bryn Mawr, PA. 305 boxes needed to pack 30,000 records.

At Gold Million Records, Bryn Mawr, PA. 305 boxes needed to pack 30,000 records.

Unfortunately, we were slightly derailed by U-haul. 15 minutes before we were to pick up the truck, U-haul sent a text changing the location. We called the new location, which had no boxes. We were stuck. Without a truck, we couldn’t get boxes. Without boxes, we didn’t need a truck.

And frustratingly enough, U-haul ran out of trucks in all of Philly—apparently the last day of the month is a heavy truck-rental-day.

It took several hours to resolve, and required us cancelling the movers, renting a small cargo van from U-haul to pick up the boxes and deliver to them to the store, and rescheduling a truck and movers for the next day.

Because U-haul was out of trucks for our big move, we contacted Penske. Surprisingly, they had a truck, with unlimited miles back to Georgia (U-haul gave us only 867 miles for the trip), and it was a fraction of the cost of U-haul.

We found a new moving crew since the others were booked for Monday. It took 6 hours, four professional (and wonderfully hard-working) packers / loaders, plus Eric, Sara, Max, Harold, and Leo to pack 30,000 records and load into the 26’ truck.

Then we made our way to Georgia.

When we arrived, we were met by an incredible female moving crew who helped unload 280 boxes (about 25,000 records) into a climate controlled storage facility. 50 boxes were placed in the store and are being added to the bins immediately.

The final moments of Gold Million Records, previously known as Plastic Fantastics Records. (left to right: Harold Gold, Eric Shepard, Sara Anderson, Max Million, & Leo.)

The final moments of Gold Million Records, previously known as Plastic Fantastics Records. (left to right: Harold Gold, Eric Shepard, Sara Anderson, Max Million, & Leo.)

Our decision to follow the flow, be open to the possibilities, and move out of our comfort zone resulted in one of the best experiences in our lives.

In addition, we made the most excellent friends anyone could wish for. And we are incredibly honored to carry on their legacy. We wish Max, Harold, and Leo every happiness as they transition to retirement; we look forward to seeing them in Georgia whenever they are able.

For us… we’re just getting started!

The volume is overwhelming.

The potential is exciting.

The journey is just beginning.

A final dinner before returning to Georgia. (from left to right: Harold Gold, Eric Shepard, Sara Anderson, Max Million)

A final dinner before returning to Georgia. (from left to right: Harold Gold, Eric Shepard, Sara Anderson, Max Million)