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Area record store changes approach during COVID-19 pandemic

Amarillo Globe-News logo Amarillo Globe-News 5 days ago David Gay
Some of the new arrivals at the High Fidelity Record Shop, located in the The Nat Antiques on Route 66, located at 2705 SW 6th Ave. [David Gay/Amarillo Globe-News] © David Gay Some of the new arrivals at the High Fidelity Record Shop, located in the The Nat Antiques on Route 66, located at 2705 SW 6th Ave. [David Gay/Amarillo Globe-News]

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Ray Wilson has been appreciating various artists, and musical genres, through his extensive vinyl collection.

"The music of the quarantine. It has been a lot of Elton John, a lot of Cher and a lot of Rod Stewart," Wilson said. "But then everything from Kiss and Metallica to New Edition and New Kids on the Block. We have definitely been spinning a lot of things."

But through his ownership of the High Fidelity Record Shop, located in The Nat Antiques on Route 66 at 2705 SW 6th Ave., Wilson has given that same thought, and variety, behind the records he has been selling vinyl-loving members of the Amarillo community, either in person at the store, or through his frequent online vinyl sales on Facebook Live.

Wilson said the store had to be closed down for a few months because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Because they were struggling with sales not coming in, the store attempted to move to an online platform and doing free deliveries to individuals.

Taking pictures of various records the owners thought were cool and posting them for sale on social media kept some sales going. But Wilson got another idea of approaching the online marketplace, from another record store.

"There's a record store that we love and get along with called the Vintage Freak in the DFW area, and they were doing live sales where they would set aside a good stack of records and they would go on Facebook live, and people would comment and buy the records," Wilson said. "It's actually done really well for us ... We've had a lot of positive comments and a lot of positive feedback about the Facebook Live. People tend to enjoy it. We have fun doing it, and I think people have enjoyed, from the comfort of their own home, being able to watch us. We try to put on a little bit of a show and have fun. It's a little bit more than just offering a product. We try and enjoy ourselves and be ourselves. We are very passionate about music and records and that sort of thing, and I think that sort of comes through on the live."

a group of people in a room: The High Fidelity Record Shop, located in the The Nat Antiques on Route 66, located at 2705 SW 6th Ave. [David Gay/Amarillo Globe-News] © David Gay The High Fidelity Record Shop, located in the The Nat Antiques on Route 66, located at 2705 SW 6th Ave. [David Gay/Amarillo Globe-News]

Wilson said a good wide range of genres have been popular during the Facebook Live sessions, including everything from funk, soul and disco to classic rock and heavy metal.

Now that Amarillo, as well as the rest of the state, has started the reopening process, High Fidelity has reopened for in-person shopping. They are requiring shoppers to wear masks and practice social distancing, doing their best to create a safe shopping environment.

But now that they are back open to people, Wilson said the difficulty is choosing which records to feature in the store and which ones to feature on Facebook Live. The social media platform gives the owners the chance to tell the viewers what is valuable about records and what makes them unique and rare.

"The live allows us to get excited about something and allows our customers to get excited about something," he said. "It lets us tell them why. Well, why is this a $30 record as opposed to a $3 record? We get to kind of, with each record, get to talk to our audience and explain to them why this is something they should probably put in their collection."

Wilson believes music, and art in general, is more important during difficult times.

"We have seen that throughout history," he said. "We have seen music and art tied to world wars. We have seen it (tied) to difficult times that we all experience. I think we turn to art, we turn to music, as a way to soothe our souls because I think right now, no matter what side of the debate (you are on) ... I think that (music) soothes our soul and brings us closer together and bridges the gap."

For more information about the store, and to access the frequent Facebook Live sales, visit https://www.facebook.com/hifiamarillo.

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