Since we’re still in Record Store Day mode we’re continuing to share women owned record store features this month! If you haven’t checked out our full list, peep it here. One of the many things we love about the vinyl community is the want to lift others up and we couldn’t feature as many women as we do without your suggestions and support. We recently got to connect with Kathy for this intervew, thanks to Ashley from Atmosphere Collectibles!
Kathy Dunn is the owner and operator of Music and More Records in New Hartford, NY a small locally owned independent record store. Music and More offers a variety of genres from rock (classic, 80’s hair bands, psychedelic, AOR, garage, punk, electronic, southern, and prog) to heavy metal, jazz, blues, and country. They even have a small section of classical, instrumental, and orchestra along with rare, hard to find live DVDs and CDs. Kathy takes extra care in procuring and cleaning the used vinyl but if you can’t find something you’re looking for, Kathy’s got you, be it in store or online requests. Music and More began with Kathy’s husband, and her promise to keep it going, but her love for him and music has lead her to where the shop is today.
When asked what she does when she’s not behind the counter, “wait… we can have a life outside of work? lol!”. Followed by, “personally, I am never really ‘closed’. As long as I am near my phone after hours, I always answer messages and take pre-orders as long as I am awake. I’m always searching for records and crate digging! It’s a way of life for me. Even while on vacation, I spend 90% of it in a record store supporting as many stores as I can while keeping a constant rotation of quality used vinyl on my shelves… music has been a huge part of my life because I married a musician!” But I think we can all agree, we want Kathy to be able to rest too, so we won’t bug her after hours!
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
My husband opened this store back in 1988 in the back of his parents appliance store. This was his baby and he built it up to be something he was super proud of. I met him in 1992 and was immediately drawn into his world. He sadly passed away in 2014. I promised him I would keep the store open and make him proud! I come to work everyday as he did with a smile on my face!
What is a day in the life like?
I absolutely have my regulars that come in and hang out, chill and talk just like in the old days before the internet. The music store is always a hangout place. It’s always so satisfying to introduce someone to something they don’t know. That is what keeps me going! I bring my Yorkie (his name is Keifer) to work with me everyday and he has a huge fan club and has daily visitors
What has been your favorite sale / relationship made from behind the counter?
Every sale in the life of an independent store is special. I can’t really think of anything that stands out as a favorite sale.
I appreciate every single person who walks in my door and supports the brick and mortar stores. Most of the people I have met here have become long-term friends. The relationships that have developed from the last 30 years of being a part of this store have surpassed more than just customers, they have become my friends and are the heart of my store. I wouldn’t be here without them.
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?
There are so many cool things that I have kept (even though I shouldn’t) but my absolute favorite thing I have come across is a mint condition Beatles “Yesterday and Today” (2nd state, unpeeled butcher cover) from 1966. I am in awe of it. And yes… I kept it!
What has been the craziest experience that has happened at the shop?
This may not be classified as a crazy experience, but my store has been flooded (due to mother nature) twice… once in 2013 where we lost our entire store under 7 feet of water, and then again in 2017. That was super crazy in our eyes. But we bounced back because nothing is gonna hold us down!
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
I’m not sure I would have any actual advice for someone other than to sell more vintage vinyl because it sounds the best!
Are you a vinyl collector yourself?
I have always been a vinyl lover. I love the true analog sound of vintage vinyl. It’s such a warm full sound that you can feel down to your core. I love the pops & crackles! Those are the sounds I love best.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Keeping up with the demand of records when the distributors are out of stock, over-allocated or discontinued. I feel terrible to have to tell someone that I cannot provide them with something they really wanted and they have to go out and search for it elsewhere. Also, all the colored vinyl exclusives that the big box stores are now offering at a lower price point is lower than what us indie retailers can buy them at and it’s very frustrating.
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.
The uptick in vinyl prices have become very worrisome. Lately, I have been cutting the retail prices down and making less profit because I am so empathetic to the consumer. I feel terrible charging the prices they are asking. The vinyl backlog is tremendous. I would love to see another pressing plant pop up to lessen the gap in wait times.
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Ever since the pandemic started in 2020, It has truly been a struggle for all small business owners. Patience has been the number one thing I ask people for. It may take time, but they can always rely on me getting the product for them. It may be late, but I will do whatever I can to make it happen. I always ask them to give me the opportunity before going to the big online box stores. I also offer a shipping option for those who are not local to my store. That has been a huge benefit over the past 2 years.
Anything else you want to share? If not, tell me: What is your favorite music genre or band right now?