My Biz: Iowa City shop has been selling vinyl for 35 years

Keeping the record on records

Jack Freeman of Dallas, Texas, front, and Ryan Stoldt of Iowa City browse at Record Collector in Iowa City on Monday, July 10, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette),
Jack Freeman of Dallas, Texas, front, and Ryan Stoldt of Iowa City browse at Record Collector in Iowa City on Monday, July 10, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette),

Working in a record store is pretty much a dream job for Record Collector employee Jordan Adams.

Having visited the store to comb through records since she was 14, Adams officially became an employee at age 16 and has enjoyed every minute since, she said.

“I have always liked record stores because all of this great music is in front of you and you can walk around and browse through it. Now for my job I get to look at so much cool music and listen to it, too. It’s incredible.”

From a small storefront in downtown Iowa City, Record Collector sells new and used records — both 45 and 33 RPMs — as well as new and used CDs, cassettes and turn tables.

“We are the only record store in town,” Adams said, noting that the shop has been open in Iowa City for 35 years, finding its current home on South Linn Street 10 years ago. Owner Kirk Walther started the business literally selling used records from an old milk crate.

The key, Adams said, is their interest in “weird music.”

“Kirk has always bought more obscure music so there’s always something really weird that you wouldn’t find in another store,” she said. “We are always on the lookout for stuff we don’t know. We like to take chances on things even if it might be a hard sell.”

While Record Collector offers an eclectic selection of sounds, Adams said the store’s biggest selection is of vintage rock records.

“But our owner is a jazz guy, so we have a fair amount of that,” she added.

With a resurgence in the purchase of vinyl records, Adams said now many new releases have vinyl, too. The store also sells work from local labels and artists.

“And sometimes bands who are coming through will drop off records for us to sell,” she said.

Adams, who is in several bands herself, loves that her role allows her to meet a lot of people, especially musicians.

“If a touring band is in town, it’s kind of a thing to come to the record store,” she said. “I have met tons of people who have played at the Englert.

“Tons of musicians have worked here. It’s like an elite family and I feel good that I get to work here.”

Stopping in Record Collector is much like visiting an antique store, she added.

“I like records because they are one of the oldest forms of musical media that exist. We have records here that are 60 or 70 years old and I think that’s so cool. You pick one up and think of all the people who have held and listened to it.”


Business: Record Collector

Address: 116 S. Linn St., Iowa City

Phone: (319) 337-5029


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