Women in Vinyl Logo

Josette Tornabene | Owner, Beachside Retro & Records

For any of you out there craving the beach in winter, we’ve stayed in Florida this week, with a feature on Beachside Retro & Records‘s owner Josette Tornabene.  Josette loves collecting cool stuff, and says “...it sometimes it borders on hoarding“. But she enjoys music and being around people. With a passion for sharing cool unique treasures Josette’s pathway to owning Beachside was kismet.  The record shop is in Satellite Beach Florida, and sells new and used vinyl, vintage clothing, band t-shirts, CDs, cassettes, VHS,  audio equipment, and other fun retro things. 

When not at the shop, Josette is addicted to me raising plants. “I am obsessed with growing plants and I just learned to propagate and now I am just making new plants left and right. It’s so funny because I got gifted a plant and wasn’t really interested until for the first time ever I ended up not killing it and then all of sudden I started looking up easy plants to not kill and had 20 plants thriving and making more plants daily. I am obsessive to the max! So now I identify as a crazy plant lady!“

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

I’ve always been able to find cool things when traveling and have always had a funky collection of items in my home, most of the time second hand. My store kind of adopted me. I was shopping at it while it was owned by another woman who needed help and I started working for her. Shortly after she let me know she was thinking of selling it and it just kind of all fell into place. I never thought I would own a record store but now it seems like such a natural thing.

What is a day in the life like?

It’s kind of like working at an animal shelter. I’m constantly getting the opportunity to re-home records and cool retro items. When a person either moves onto new music or just doesn’t see the magic in an old record player, I get excited bringing that piece of music to a new person to love and cherish. And just like that, it’s new again. It’s very rewarding. I think all of the time about the fact that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. I get to experience that first hand, daily!

Favorite sale / relationship made from behind the counter?

Something that always brings me joy is how timeless music is and how the new generation is discovering albums their parents and their grandparents loved listening to. My store is close to a high school and there are kids that are just discovering Rumors by Fleetwood Mac and the album is still just as amazing as it was in the 70s. There’s so many albums that are timeless, they are still just as good as they were 30 or so years ago. Sometimes they are even better with age!

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?

Such a hard question! There’s been so many things I’ve wanted to keep to myself and I always get reminded that there’s someone out there that I can share that coolness with rather than keeping it to myself. Sometimes I will keep an album for a couple of months and listen to it and enjoy the cover art but it always comes down to wanting to share the coolness. I had this really awesome Dr. John- In the Right Place first pressing that had such vivid artwork and I shared it with a younger customer who enjoyed it just as much as me.

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

Always feeling like a newbie. It’s a blessing and a curse. I do tend to do things differently from other stores because I don’t know any other way but it’s a constant journey and learning experience. I am constantly learning and trying new things which is also exciting.

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

I think buying record collections is always an exciting, crazy experience. I never know just by the first look through just how many treasures are in a collection sometimes until I bring it back to the shop and spend time researching them. Once I went to an apartment that had a full wall of boxes of records. The guy had inherited the records from his dad and had moved them a couple of times already and had to be out of his apartment the next day and just wanted them gone. I made an offer based on looking at a couple of boxes but when I brought the whole collection back and was looking through all the boxes I couldn’t believe all the amazing records that were buried deep. I felt like it was Christmas with so many albums I had never seen before.

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

I tell women all the time to take that chance you have a good feeling about. Don’t be afraid to fail! Women have great intuition and are really good at making things work.

When I first bought this store I didn’t know anything about what it took to run a retail store, I didn’t know much about records and just had a good feeling that I could make the store better than it was currently doing. I took a big leap of faith and tried things differently than what was currently being done and it paid off.

Then Covid hit and I remember feeling really scared that all the hard work we had put into the store was for nothing but I didn’t give up. I called around and asked a lot of questions and did a lot of googling. I called the local Chamber of Commerce that connected me to a woman who was an executive of a large business. She couldn’t really give me direct advice but she gave me motivation to get creative. She helped me apply for some government help that was coming out during that time. So instead of quitting we ended up during the shutdown building a website that we never thought we needed and did some creative advertising. We ended up leveraging the fact that so many businesses were going out of business during that time and we moved into a bigger vacant unit that was only affordable because of the pandemic. We made the most of a very hard time and for that we are in an even better position than pre pandemic. I am grateful for all the help I got when I asked questions and didn’t give up when things got really hard. I am grateful that I have a passionate team around me that can get creative and they have always been big advocates of the store.

So dream big and don’t give up when things get hard, just ask for help! Oh and definitely surround yourself with a great team!

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 love how many new vinyl collectors are just getting into it. It’s so exciting to see new customers that are just starting to build their collections. I love how many artists have embraced vinyl and are putting out new music on cool colored vinyl. I’m really excited how easy it is to find vinyl which was once so hard to find. Sometimes I worry about it losing its coolness being so mainstream but that’s just silly! The more access there is to vinyl the bigger it can become! It’s a very exciting time!

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

Yes, I have a collection of vinyl. It’s always changing and evolving. I’ve sold a lot of it to keep it moving along. When I have too many records the cool ones kinda get lost. But I love traveling and going to the local record store and getting to see all the different shops. I usually have a theme I look for in records that I collect. For a while I was always looking for records with naked women on them which is really odd, but fun to hunt for. It creates a wide variety of albums in lots of genres and is a fun game that makes me look through all of the different sections of a shop.

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

So the coolest thing about the Melbourne area is that the two biggest record shops in the area are owned by women! (Ya girls rule!) The other big shop in the area is Savvy Vinyl which is owned by Michelle. She was actually really influential to me because I used to shop at the record shop she worked at before she opened up her own and think what a cool job she has. We would talk about music and she would always know all the cool bands to suggest that I look for when I was shopping so it’s pretty cool that the other big record shop in town is now owned by her. I am grateful to be her peer.

Anything else you’d like to add, if not tell us who you’re listening to right now: 

I am loving this new girl band called The Beaches which Instagram showed me. They have a catchy new song called Blame Brett. I’m enjoying following them and seeing them take off. @thebeachesband

Find Josette: 


Josette: @josie_no_cats

Beachside Retro: @beachside_retro

Facebook: @BeachsideRetro

Website: www.beachsideretro.com

We hope you enjoyed this content! If so inclined please donate so we can continue bringing you more like this.  There is no amount too small.

We hope you enjoyed this content! If so inclined please donate so we can continue bringing you more like this. There is no amount too small.