CEDAR RAPIDS — While it may seem as if everyone is downloading music from the internet, vinyl is alive and well in Cedar Rapids.
So much so that Analog Vault needed a larger space after just a year-and-a-half in business.
“We were bottlenecked,” owner Jeremy Vega said of the store’s original 15-by-18-foot location on the second floor of the Village Bank and Trust Building. “We couldn’t do anything more there. We had ideas, but didn’t have the space.”
Since The Gazette last visited with Analog Vault shortly after its October 2016 grand opening, the business has moved to the ground floor. On June 1, the store relocated to the first floor of the CSPS Building, just down the street from its original location in the NewBo neighborhood.
The new, larger space isn’t the only change for Analog Vault since it opened. The business began as a collective of four vinyl enthusiasts, including Vega, each juggling business operations while working full-time jobs.
Over time, the other three partners stepped away, leaving Vega at the helm.
“We got busy, and the store didn’t fit everybody’s life style anymore,” Vega explained, noting that he runs the store with the help of family and friends while continuing to work as an industrial mechanic at General Mills.
“This is where I unwind from everything all day long.”
Vega said he and his former business partners had been contemplating the store’s move since late last year, when the NewBo Mercantile, the previous occupant of the space, closed its doors.
“We talked about going from the small space with low overhead to a more prominent first-floor space,” he said. “We decided it would be cool, but we weren’t sure if it was the right move. So we let it go.”
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However, after subsequent conversations with CSPS management, Vega became convinced that a record store would be a good fit for the performing arts building.
The store’s new location provides more room for its inventory of new and used vinyl records, turntables and vintage hi-fi equipment. Vega also has space for products from other small, local businesses, including Rise Above Leathers and Thumbprint Soap.
“People like to have more to look at, and it’s cool to be able to support other small businesses just like others have supported us,” he said.
A comfortable lounge area in a corner of the store allows people to relax while friends are shopping.
“It buys the record collector more time to browse the records,” Vega said.
The lounge also serves as a venue for acoustic warm-up sets by artists performing at CSPS and other area venues. Next up is Des Moines singer-songwriter Dan Tedesco, who will perform a free in-store set at 5 p.m. on Aug. 11 before his show at Dick’s Tap and Shake Room later that evening.
l Know a business that has been in operation for less than a year that would make a good “Ground Floor” feature? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a Glance
l Owner: Jeremy Vega
l Business: Analog Vault
l Address: 215 11th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
l Phone: (319) 558-6853
l Email: email@example.com
l Facebook: www.facebook.com/analogvaultcr