Molly is a force, we’ll just say that first; she came to the US from Tunisia, speaks three languages, has an IT background, plus co-owns and manages Nail City Record in Wheeling, WV. Nail City is a record store with new and used vinyl, turntables, CD’s, cassettes, vinyl care, and music memorabilia. It’s a place where people of all ages can go to discover music from across every genre, decade, and media style.
When Molly isn’t at work, she’s, doing “more work, lol!“. She is also a part time manager at another small business in town, a wine & import shop with a French bakery. She is passionate about wines, enjoys tastings, and is a foodie who loves to cook.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
I started collecting records with my boyfriend / partner as a hobby. We loved traveling, and everywhere we went, we stopped at the record store. Our passion started growing and we found ourselves driving an hour every weekend to shop for records. We realized the need for a record store in our town so we decided to start our own adventure! I have an IT background and I never really thought I would end up in the music industry. I just knew how to build and run a business and I followed my passion.
What is a day in the life like?
It really depends on what day of the week. Usually, I start working early from home while having my coffee. I do a lot of the buying for the store, so I like to use the quiet mornings to check out whatever artist / album I’ve been meaning to check out, or catch up on some music news while I work. On Monday or Tuesday, I usually place our weekly record orders. That includes making sure we are covered on preorders, stocking up on new releases, and also restocking what we’re missing at the shop. I also update the website to get it ready for a new week and start drafting my weekly email campaign. For the rest of the week, I usually start the day with working on the website and adding more products for sale.
Once I’m at the store, usually around 11am, I help pick the online orders and get them ready to be packaged. Then I work through my to-do list. I do a lot of the organization at the shop. I’m always moving things around, adding more specific genres, and making sure things are looking nice and in order. I also work on our social media and take pictures & videos of new arrivals. I price and add new and used records to the website and other platforms and of course, I take care of customers as the day goes on.
What has been your favorite sale / relationship made from behind the counter?
A few years ago a nice couple from the UK, Kevin & Denise, stopped by our shop. They were DJs and 45rpm collectors. They had heard about our 45 collection all the way in the UK and had to stop by on their road trip. They were super nice and I really enjoyed our conversation. I still think about them every once in a while. Hopefully, things will get back to normal soon and they can stop by again!
In your opinion what has been the coolest thing to come through your shop / the thing you had to keep / almost couldn’t put out for sale?
I’m good (or bad) about keeping things I really want. However, there were two items that I sold and will never forget. A test pressing of The Eagles – Hotel California and a Sony tps-l2 Walkman that was in pristine shape with all the accessories that originally came with it.
What has been the craziest experience that has happened at the shop?
Nothing that I would qualify as too crazy, but we have had some really good live music, and also some unforgettable open mic nights. Our shop has become a space for people to create, connect and explore.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
It’s a great time to be in the business, even if things seem chaotic right now. Don’t get discouraged easily, it takes time to figure things out. There is always something new in the music industry and you have to keep up with it if you want to have a successful record shop. Keep an eye on new artists, and who’s making news and try to build relationships in the industry!
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
Yes, I am. Like I mentioned above, it’s something that I started doing with my boyfriend when we first started dating and it just grew from there. We’ve been keeping our collection together and we are definitely running out of space. Even though I spend all day in between records, I still enjoy going back home everyday, picking something from our personal collection and putting it on the turntable.
I believe that every record collection tells a story, not just about the music, but also about the “collector” and I like to look at our collection as the soundtrack of our relationship and life together.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
I was born and raised in Tunisia and I just moved to the States six years ago. I knew a lot about Arabic & European music, but I had very little knowledge of the rest. The most difficult part of my job was the amount of music information I needed to learn. Genres and how they connect with each other, artist names and bands and their different lineups, labels, producers… I learned so much in the past few years and I am learning more every single day.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
I’m really excited because there is more and more interest in reissuing older music from different cultures on vinyl. Labels like Habibi Funk, Real Gone Music, Sublime Frequencies, Wewantsounds, and World Music Network to name a few, have been doing a great job! Some are tunes that I grew up listening to and I love that I’m finally able to share them on vinyl with my friends and customers here, and some are just amazing discoveries!
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
I would say be patient, I know things have been irregular lately: releases delayed, albums that were always available are now out of print and getting harder to get. However, things are moving along, and new releases & reissues are coming out every week. Shop from your local record store and don’t be afraid to talk to them and tell them what you are looking for. Most stores will help you out!
Anything else you want to share? If not, tell me: What is your favorite music genre or band right now?
On rotation these days: Khruangbin, Nubya Garcia, Sylvan Esso, Wet Leg, Soapkills, Thievery Corporation. We’re also huge King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard fans. We are actually printing a KGLW record, “Europe ’19”. It’s a 3 LP live album compilation, a part of their Bootlegger series. Things are looking good for a February release date (fingers crossed no more delays!).