Zia Records’ Mary Papenhausen knows the appeal of Record Store Day. She sees customers come in and out of the stalwart stores. She purchases records, too.
“The beautiful thing about Record Store Day is that you can look at the list a million times, and when you get to the store and see things, you’ll realize you’ll end up wanting more,” says Papenhausen, the chain’s director of marketing.
Fans who shopped on the June 12 Record Store Day have a second chance on July 17. The event was split into two days due to the pandemic.
With one Record Store Day in the books, shops like Uncle Aldo’s Attic in Northeast Mesa and Zia Records are gearing up to see large crowds from the moment doors open once again.
“Things are becoming a bit safer, and it seems that more and more people are getting out and want to do things,” Papenhausen says.
Uncle Aldo’s Attic owner Desi Scarpone says Record Store Day was slightly daunting.
“We always have a line outside our store, and this year we had a long one, which is a little scary for a small store like ours,” Scarpone says.
Both stores have put capacity limits in place to give shoppers more room to peruse the specials and keep everyone safely distanced.
“With the smaller crowds, it’s more manageable,” Papenhausen says. “People have more space. People can see the records a bit clearer, and it’s easier, in terms of stress, for customers and employees.”
Besides capping capacity, the stores are limiting what customers can buy.
“When we open, we let people in one at a time and they get to choose up to three of the Record Store Day things,” Scarpone says. “We do this until the line is gone and then we let people come and go as they please.”
Zia Records will allow 15 people in at a time, all of whom can only purchase one record per title.
“If there’s 22 titles out there, you can get 22 different titles, but not 22 of one title,” Papenhausen says.
She explains Zia makes it an easy shopping experience.
“We make it so that it’s extremely easy to shop at the store,” she explains. “We give people enough space. We put the records in alphabetical order. We have people directing people over to the sections and helping them with what they may need.”
At Uncle Aldo’s Attic, a staff member will search the inventory for the pieces customers would like to purchase.
“We will sometimes check with people in line to see what they want and, if we’re running low on inventory, we will tell them they may be better off elsewhere,” Scarpone says.
Scarpone has tried to combat this by purchasing a fair amount of Record Store Day exclusive vinyl for his store.
“This is the most Record Store Day records that I’ve ever bought, because so often I’ll have customers ask me for stuff that we don’t have,” Scarpone says. “I went wide and ordered stuff that I don’t usually get.”
For customers who missed out on a few of the first Record Store Day releases, Uncle Aldo’s Attic still has several titles remaining.
This time, the most anticipated releases are “Remixes,” Amy Winehouse; “Live in 1972,” Aretha Franklin; “Aglio E Olio,” Beastie Boys; “Czar Noir,” Czarface; “Lose You Now,” Lindsey Stirling; “Fallen Torches,” Mastodon; “Missing Links Vol. 1, 2 and 3,” The Monkees; “Lean Into It,” Mr. Big; and “Mechanical Resonance,” Tesla.
Several compilation records will hit shelves, too.
Zia Records opens at 7 a.m., but for shoppers who are not yet comfortable with going to stores, leftover Record Store Day exclusives will be sold online beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 17.
Exclusive records will not be the only thing on sale that day. Uncle Aldo’s Attic offers 10% off all non-Record Store Day exclusives in the store.
Zia Records will sell exclusive branded merchandise. The chain hasn’t released the merchandise designs yet, but last time it was a slip mat and an exclusive T-shirt.
Record Store Day is an exciting day not just for customers but for the stores’ staff.
“It’s a really exciting day,” Papenhausen says. “You can expect energy right off the bat both from in-store shoppers and the people waiting in line.”
She has a bit of advice for shoppers attending their first Record Store Day.
“I’d recommend getting there early, staying hydrated and looking at the list before you come in,” Papenhausen says.
She reminds shoppers, too, that Record Store Day isn’t just about musicians and stores making a profit.
“The thing about supporting record stores on Record Store Day is that you will find the fairest price on that day,” Papenhausen says. “We want as many people to get as many records as possible at a fair price.”
Record Store Day
Stores open at 7 a.m. Saturday, July 17
Tempe: 3021 S. Mill Avenue
Camelback: 1850 W. Camelback Road
Chandler: 3029 N. Alma School Road
Thunderbird: 2510 W. Thunderbird Road
Mesa: 1302 S. Gilbert Road
Online records go on sale at 10 a.m.
Uncle Aldo’s Attic
Store opens at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 17
6016 E. McKellips Road, Northeast Mesa
For the full list of Record Store Day releases, visit recordstoreday.com.