2nd Avenue Records storefront in Portland, Oregon

How To Support Record Stores (From A Safe Distance)

Anyone else already feeling withdrawal from hitting the crates at your local record stores? It’s only been a few weeks and it’s looking like it’s going to be a hard time for us all. Unfortunately, with large scale lockdowns, for record stores and sellers that burden is already keenly felt.

While there’s not a silver bullet here, there are a few things you can do to support your favorite record stores and sellers during these trying times. For those of us lucky enough to be in a position where it’s possible, it’s important to ensure our favorite institutions stay afloat and are still standing when we’re finally out the other side of this thing.

Buy a gift card

If the store or seller sells gift cards or vouchers online or over the phone, buy a gift card to demonstrate your commitment to their business and help them stay afloat until their doors reopen. I can’t put it better than one poster in the Discogs’ forum: “that keeps them going a bit longer and gives you something to look forward to.”

Buy merch

Totebag from Streetlight Records in Santa Cruz

Even though no one will see your sweet threads for the next few weeks (well, you could flex in your conference calls), check out the merch on offer from your local record store. There’s a good chance they have t-shirts, tote bags (full disclosure: I bought this Streetlight bag a while ago, but it’s one of my favorite record store merch items), cleaners, or other merch items for sale on their website. A lot of record stores have their websites linked from their VinylHub profile.

Follow record stores and sellers on social media

Show your support by following your favorite record stores online. They’ll most likely share updates there about the status of their shop, inventory, access to shipping, and more. In some cases, they may also share more specific details on how you can support or assist them (e.g. if they have a crowdfunding page). Keep an eye on local stores who may be doing door-to-door deliveries in your area.

Order from record shops’ online stores

Although many record stores have shut their doors to their physical stores, plenty are still operating online and are updating their Discogs listings daily. Help keep your favorite record stores afloat by moving items from your Wantlist to Cart.

Check out our list of record stores who’ve moved their inventory online and show your support!

Be patient

Shipping times (as with many other things) are unpredictable right now. I know this social distancing thing is tough, but if you can stand to wait a little to receive your item, please avoid cancelling items due to long shipping times. It’s out of the seller’s control but has a direct impact on their livelihood.

Supporting each other is going to be key to getting through this tricky situation. With your help, record stores around the world will emerge from the pandemic no worse for wear, and we’ll be able to meet over the crates again soon! Stay safe and keep the music playing.

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