Plaid Room Records is a record store that opened a few months ago in Loveland. Right out of the gates there’s something really unique about the shop: its location (120 Karl Brown Way in Loveland). There’s no shortage of record stores in the city of Cincinnati, but if you’re hunting for vinyl in the burbs, well, it’s mostly been about the Half-Price Books locations, where their limited record selection seems almost like an afterthought.
Not at Plaid Room Records. This place lives and breathes records and music, and as someone who does the same—and who is hyper-sensitized to the faults of record stores—I know that these guys got it right. Their emphasis is primarily on both new and used vinyl, although I did see and buy some modestly-priced used CDs of modern jazz classics. Here are some of the things I liked:
The Vibe. With record stores, we’ve almost come to expect the employees to be grumpy and condescendingAlong with being knowledgeable and passionate about music, the two brothers who run Plaid Room Records are nice guys. I was probably in the store for about an hour, and I saw them interact with lots of different kinds of customers. Both brothers built a quick rapport with all their customers and made them feel welcome.
The Vibe (part 2). What I also liked about the store was the customer base. Since vinyl began to rebound, we tend to see record store customers as the province of male hipsters. That’s diversified somewhat as of late, but Plaid Room Records was much more mixed than what I normally see. There were as many female customers as there were male, and the crowd seemed, well, mainstream and suburban. Many adults walked in with young children, who, when they held the records in front of their faces, were fascinated by what they saw, as well they should be. As someone who would love to see vinyl continue to grow, and especially new vinyl, it was great to see its fan base expanding. Plaid Room is VERY popular already, and if that can happen, then maybe the vinyl thing can keep growing. That would be a great thing for both musicians and the record labels that support musicians.
They’re A Family-Owned Small Business. The owners of the store, Terry Cole and Bobby Cole, are brothers. They run a family-owned small business, and you can tell that they love music. In fact, they have their own label, the ultrahip soul-and-funk-infused Colemine Records label. They have live concerts in the store and lots of other activities, and really I’m only scratching the surface here with things going on at the store. You can find out more about them on their Facebook page.
A Great Selection of Vinyl. The store has a combination of both new and used vinyl, with both LPs and 45s. They keep getting in used vinyl, so the stock doesn’t stagnate. They’re up on all the interesting new stuff, and they make it easy to pre-order upcoming releases.
(One Other Thing.) As someone who lives within the city limits of Cincinnati, one reservation I supposed I could have about Plaid Room is that, in theory, they could take away some of the business for, say, Shake-It, Everybody’s, Mole’s, or (in Northern Kentucky) Torn Light. I’ll make a prediction, though: they’ll help increase business at those stores. There were lots of teenagers and young adults walking through the store when I was there, and many of them will end up attending the University of Cincinnati or finding some other reason to move into the city. Plaid Records will instill in them the healthiest addiction I know. My rating for Plaid Records: A+