Record setter

Longmont’s Vinyl Café gears up for Record Store Day

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Martin Banks fell in love with records through DJing. More than two decades later, the 44-year-old computer programmer from Birmingham, England, opened his tiny Vinyl Café record shop in Longmont last October, selling a mix of new and used LPs.

He says the location on Main Street is temporary as he looks for a bigger space to provide Longmont with a combination record and coffee shop, with hopes for a rooftop patio and lots of live music. 

“It’s a really up-and-coming town. There are a lot of people moving here in the demographic that are into the things we’re selling,” Banks says of his shop’s new home. “I considered Denver, but Longmont is a growing community, and the businesses don’t seem to be keeping up with the changes in demographic. People are coming in, like, ‘Wow, we’ve been waiting for something like this.’”

Banks’ first record-store venture was Three Shades, a shop in Birmingham he ran for nearly a decade beginning in the year 2000.  He eventually found himself on our side of the pond in Nebraska — but something was missing.

“It was a good place to bring up little kids,” he says, “The lifestyle was cheap, but it wasn’t fun like it is here.”

Banks’ new Boulder County shop is a family affair. One of his daughters recently helped him prepare for the Rocky Mountain Record Show in Denver.

“We’re all into music,” he says. “I got into music from my parents. They were just playing music all the time when we were kids. I was into metal and electronic music in my teenage years, but then I found my dad’s Revolver cassette.”

Banks was only 20 when he opened his first record shop, just a couple years after he fell in love with vinyl records through mixing house music. Today you’ll catch him DJing most Friday nights at Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom in Longmont

The Englishman, a huge soccer fan who has a faux World Cup behind the counter at Vinyl Café, now has five employees as the shop expands its inventory and evolves toward his bigger vision. He’ll surely need them all for Record Store Day on April 20.

“That’s the really big one,” Banks says. “Record Store Day is the big focus for us at the minute. The public love it. I think it’s great that people have this exciting thing to look forward to, with all these exclusive releases and re-releases of old things that people have been struggling to get a hold of. It’s, like, eight pages long now, the list of releases. So that’s a big order to put in.”

Vinyl Café will open at 6 a.m. on Saturday with donuts, breakfast burritos and coffee, along with DJs and a slew of RSD-exclusive releases that Banks and his crew will be clearing half a row of racks to display.

“We’re super excited,” Banks says. “I will be going out to the line from around 5 a.m. with laminated sheets of all the releases, for people to mark what they want, and then I’ll go inside and box them up for them for when we open, so people don’t have to deal with a ‘Black Friday at Walmart’ type Royal Rumble.”


ON THE TURNTABLE: Record Store Day at Vinyl Café. 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, April 20, Vinyl Café, 716 Main St., Longmont   

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