Store Owner interview with Peter Gianakopoulos of The Old School Records
Store Name: The Old School Records
QRD – Why did you start your store?
Peter – Because we wanted to be the best.
QRD – How does your store particularly appeal to your city?
Peter – Deejays & grandpas can both feel at home.
QRD – What’s a mistake you’ve made with your store that you’d warn others against?
Peter – Don’t have one.
QRD – What do you think indie record labels could do to best help both themselves & indie stores?
Peter – Make more exclusives.
QRD – How was the representation of indie storeowners & customers in the movie High Fidelity accurate & inaccurate to your experience?
Peter – Not too accurate. A documentary would have been better.
QRD – What type of research do you do to decide what to put on the shelves?
Peter – A little reading & ingenuity of experience.
QRD – Is it ever difficult to find the right distributors to get something you want to stock?
Peter – Sometimes.
QRD – What do you wish labels or bands or distributors did more of to work with you?
Peter – Be less elitist.
QRD – What do you think is your store’s all time best seller?
Peter – Miles Davis – A Kind of Blue.
QRD – What do you think most leads to a particular record being a good seller in your store?
Peter – Word of mouth.
QRD – How does one get an independent release into your store such that it’s recommended to the clientele instead of just sitting on the shelf?
Peter – Sending a play copy.
QRD – How do you feel about so many stores closing & how does it affect you if at all?
Peter – It makes new product harder to find & limited.
QRD – What type of competition do you get from the big box stores (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc.) & is it difficult to compete price-wise - i.e., do you find that potential customers will shop at the chain because they can afford to charge less for the same discs or do they support you if the disc is a dollar higher in price?
Peter – They do both. We stock more catalog.
QRD – With portable MP3 players & iTunes, is the concept of the album (in any form) dying?
Peter – The concept of the CD single is dying.
QRD – How has the downloading scene impacted your sales - do you find that people buy less CDs now because they can download them for less or do you or do you think illegal downloads are more of a culprit?
Peter – Both.
QRD – Record & CD buyers tend to be of a certain age (21-34), as the upcoming people who will be of that age group are mostly download-buyers, would you like stores to eventually have “iPod filling stations” hooked up to an indie network that stores can be part of?
Peter – NO.
QRD – With the increase in digital downloads, low prices in mega-chains, & so many online specialty stores; what is the job of the local indie shop now compared to in the 1990s?
Peter – More VINYL.
QRD – What are the biggest misconceptions people have of record stores in general & yours in particular?
Peter – Snotty attitudes & elitist approach.
QRD – What is the most frustrating &/or frequent question you get from customers?
Peter – “Do people still buy records?”
QRD – How do you decide who to hire as an employee & when you need one?
Peter – People who actually shop when they apply.
QRD – If you weren’t in the music business, what would you do?
Peter – Run for president.
QRD – How did your schooling & previous work experience prepare (or not prepare) you for your store?
Peter – Business classes helped. Working at a store didn’t hurt either.
QRD – Have you ever refused to sell something purely because you disliked the music, even if it was popular & would sell?
Peter – No.
QRD – What is your personal “holy grail”? (i.e. the one rarity you’ve been looking for forever.)
Peter – Sun Ra – Song Of The Star Gazers.
QRD – What makes you feel like you had a good day at the store?
Peter – Big sales.
QRD – Anything else?
Peter – Nice people.
Official Website - www.theoldschoolrecords.com