Women in Vinyl Logo

Alysha Kester-Terry

Co-Owner, FOUNTAIN Records

With it being the start of April and our vinyl holiday (Record Store Day) around the corner, we're spending the month sharing the stories of some indie shops you should know. We had the chance to chat with Alysha Kester-Terry, the co-founder and co-owner of FOUNTAIN Records, Utah’s first co-op record store! With 15 local DJ and record collector vendors, the co-op sells vinyl records, cassettes, apparel, synthesizers, accessories and more. FOUNTAIN's main focus is on their community, holding weekly events including listening sessions, open jazz jams, art shows, live DJs and more. Alysha also started and runs the record label, FOUNTAINavm with partner Adam, which focuses on releasing artists of the Southwest, specializing in deep archival and unreleased material, as well as progressive contemporary work.

When she isn't at the record store, Alysha loves building websites and doing graphic design, watching films on the Criterion channel, and going to jazz nights

How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?

I’ve always been passionate about music and access to the discovery of music through my community. With my partner Adam Michael Terry, who is a musician and producer, we’ve evolved from just having our record label to building a record store that is community centric and focused on discovery and collaboration.

What is a day in the life like?

Running a co-op record store is very complex! I have a background in Information Systems and my other full time job is as a software engineer, which really comes in handy for building systems to handle the co-op design of our business. I need to get new inventory information from our co-op vendors frequently, load that into our system, and print labels on a regular basis. I need to frequently communicate with vendors sales reports and payouts, manage events and social media promotion. I also handle our website updates and communication with customers and other inquiries, buying inventory… it’s a lot!

Favorite sale / relationship made from behind the counter?

Some of my favorite sales are when I’m playing a record in the store that people haven’t heard before, and they like it so much that they buy it. One time, I was playing the record of Lycoriscoris “Flight” and a couple sat down in our lounge area and listened to the whole album. They bought it and were so excited to listen again at home that night. That’s the kind of thing that brings me joy.

In your opinion what has been the coolest thing to come through your shop / thing you had to keep / almost couldn't put out for sale?

This one is tough! But it think it has to be two things: First, the Lost in Translation soundtrack on vinyl, and second Lycoriscoris “Flight” on vinyl. Both are hard to find!

What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?

Systems administration, and contract management. We have different contract terms for all our co-op vendors as well as our record label artists. Contracts have been the most expensive and most important of our business be it for the store or the label. Systems administration is equally challenging to keep all that going.

What has been the craziest experience that has happened at the shop?

We’re just getting going, but we’ve had several celebrities stop in and hang out, which is always fun!

What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?

...lean in on your passion for sharing music!

This is not my favorite answer, but you need an attorney for several things; contracts, leases, etc. It’s been some of the best money spent to have that kind of support. Second, networking makes a huge difference in what kind of connections you can make for artists, buying wholesale, etc. Lastly, lean in on your passion for sharing music.

Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?

Not all the great music is out there to be streamed. There’s so much history and great music you can only get on vinyl. We aim to show our community all about it!

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 very excited about bringing together a whole community to build a co-op store. We have so many people involved in the success of the store that we don’t feel every ounce of weight on our shoulders.

Who has been influential to you and your growth as a professional in this industry? 

This might be a weird answer, but my local library really influenced my exploration of music and desire to share a myriad of genres and mediums to our community. The library is where I felt a sense of community and found so much great music that wasn’t in the mainstream. I want to share that sense of belonging and exploration.

Anything else you’d like to add; if not tell us what you're listening to: 

My favorite music genre is progressive deep house, anything on the Anjunadeep or Reflections label.

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