ST. PETERSBURG -- After working more or less around the clock for a week, Manny Matalon finally went to sleep a little after 4 a.m. Saturday.
Less than three hours later, he was back up, biking down to Daddy Kool Records’ new shop.
Before long, a lengthy line was there to greet him.
“It was the biggest crowd we’ve had,” the store’s manager, who goes by “Manny Kool,” said as people filed through the new space in the Warehouse Arts District. “There were a lot of things that people were looking for that we went through right away.”
It’s always that way on Record Store Day, the international celebration of indie shops selling vinyl. Collectors, re-sellers, speculators and, yes, even actual music fans lined up early at record stores across Tampa Bay to pick up new and exclusive releases by bands like Green Day, Duran Duran and Foo Fighters.
Held every spring since 2008, Record Store Day can be a windfall for the smaller record stores that have persisted into the streaming era. In addition to exclusive albums, stores offered discounts and BOGO sales as customers new and old brought in their lists.
“If anything, I get more new people,” said Nick Sorace, owner of the Disc Exchange in St. Petersburg, where regulars came looking for the Rolling Stones, Rush and Allman Brothers Band. “There’s more awareness.”
At Daddy Kool, some of the hot items early on included Weezer’s “Teal Album,” a limited edition of the soundtrack to Bohemian Rhapsody and a novelty 3-inch record player that sold for around $70. There was also great curiosity about the store’s new home away from Central Avenue, where it had been for about 20 years before rising rents forced it out of downtown.
Getting the store ready for opening day came right down to the wire, so much so that fire marshals hung around Saturday morning to make sure capacity didn’t rise above 49, enforcing a one-in, one-out policy when necessary. Owner Tony Rifugiato said capacity issues should be resolved when the shop fine-tunes new hours of operation in coming weeks.
Several shops turned Record Store Day into a wider community celebration, booking bands or vendor villages to help draw crowds. At Bananas Records in St. Petersburg, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier popped in to perform for dozens of shoppers before headlining a show in Ybor City Saturday night.
Gauthier’s guitarist and fellow vocalist, Austin, Texas singer Jaimee Harris, told the crowd she used to live down the street from a record shop and was happy to be back in one.
“I got an education by walking in there in my pajamas,” she said. “As a songwriter, it’s really cool that this is happening.”
Contact Jay Cridlin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.