Beaverton's sole record store uses old-school vibe to attract new wave of customers

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - South Beaverton resident Alec Cartwright rifles through records at Everyday Music in Cedar Hills. A student at Portland Community College's Sylvania Campus, Cartwright is a loyal customer at the vinyl, CD and DVD store. Just across the street from the bustle of Cedar Hills Crossing — where T-Mobile sells app-heavy smartphones and The Mac Store shares the latest in digital technology — one shop proudly peddles a product firmly rooted in the past but that’s experiencing a healthy renaissance among music aficionados.

“People are buying more vinyl,” says Patrick Bocarde, co-manager of Everyday Music at 3290 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd. “It seems we’re doing pretty well.”

Formally known as a long-playing record album, “vinyl” is not the only form in which music is available at Everyday Music, where new and used CDs and DVDs still abound. The mostly black, groove-laden discs with a colored label and tiny hole in the center, however, remain the heart and soul of what’s become Beaverton’s only retail store still specializing in recorded music.

“CDs are declining, and LPs are climbing,” says store Manager Rian Zenner, noting the cyclical nature of consumer fashion. “Everything goes in a circle.”

Portland’s collection of independent record outlets, including two Everyday Music stores, buck the national trend away from bricks-and-mortar stores. The Westside has seen its smaller collection of shops — such as the former Music Time on Southwest Broadway Street, which closed about two years ago — diminish in the digital era.

“There’s nothing like it over here,” Zenner says of Everyday. “Granted it’s only 9 miles to downtown Portland, but a lot of people don’t want to go that far. Their only other options are stores like Fred Meyer and Best Buy. We’ve got a little niche for ourselves. We corner the market.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Everyday Music employees Luke Oskierko, Rick Shaffer and Kaoru Ninomiya check in inventory before placing them on the racks to be sold at the Beaverton store.

Coming around again

The Cedar Hills store opened in 1999, about three years after Portland-area residents Scott and Sarah Kuzma established Everyday Music as a sister company to Minnesota-based Cheapo Records. They started in the Rose City with stores on West Burnside Street and across the river on Northeast Sandy Boulevard.

Despite the popular perception that iTunes, digital MP3 files and Internet radio services such as Spotify and Pandora usurp the market for music one can touch, the popularity of disc jockeys and a growing appreciation for vinyl’s warm sound and big artwork are bringing in new audiences.

“When the MP3 thing came in, there was a big decline in sales,” Zenner explains. “The last two years there’s been an increase in people getting back into it. Vinyl records is the thing that brought everybody back. Everybody wanted to be a DJ overnight. Record sales went through the roof.”

Those wanting to maintain some portability with their music can hedge bets buying new vinyl records, many of which include a downloadable MP3 code. That way, the typically $15 to $20 item provides multiple formats for listening, from a new or vintage turntable to an iPod through the car stereo.

“If you’re on the road, the ideal format for the car is the MP3,” Bocarde says. “If you want a better sound, (vinyl) provides something better.”

Geoff Zagarola, who tries to visit Everyday Music about every two weeks, can attest to that. The 19-year-old Portland resident, whose tastes run from Puerto Rican music to jazz-rock to 1960s and ’70s rock classics, likes vinyl for its sound as well as collectibility.

“Look at the size of this,” he says, holding up a used album he grabbed from the dozens of racks. “This is a piece of art. You get a much fuller sound, and it’s something really collectible, like baseball cards. You can really get into record collecting.”

That enthusiasm brings mixed results at his parents’ house, where he resides while preparing for college in Miami, Fla.

“My dad doesn’t like them piling up in the dining room,” Zagarola says of his 2,000 or so records. “They’re pretty supportive of my record habit. It’s an addiction, I guess.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Everyday Music co-managers Rian Zenner and Patrick Bocarde discuss the record store business in mid-December at the long-running store in Cedar Hills.

Keeping the faith

Bocarde, who started at Everyday’s West Burnside Street location before transferring to Cedar Hills in 2004, says his job provides an ongoing thrill of discovery.

“The thing I like is just seeing something new, a new album, something I’ve never heard of before.”

He’s also been impressed with the resiliency of the business.

“I have a lot of faith in it,” he says. “We survived the economic downturn while a lot of other businesses closed down.”

Zenner, a Southeast Portland resident who’s been with Everyday since 1998, likes to keep the Cedar Hills outlet as authentic as possible.

“We don’t want to come off as a corporate store,” he says. “A record store is kind of that dusty experience — the kind you’ve had since you were a teenager. We want to keep it clean, but we also want to maintain that feeling.”

While confident the resurgence in vinyl records will last awhile, Zenner is under no illusion the trend is indestructible.

“Everything has an expiration date. Something else will come up, then somebody’s grandkids will find a vinyl collection and it’ll all start up again — and the cycle continues,” he says. “Right now, records are the big thing, so we’ll ride the wave.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Scott Canfora of Tualatin flips through record albums in a aisle dedicated to vinyl at Everyday Music in Beaverton.

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