Since the inception of Used Kids Records in 1986, the local record store has maintained roots in the heart of the campus portion of North High Street. This May, the store will mark its 30th anniversary by packing up and heading a few minutes east to take the place of the now-defunct Young’s Food Mart.
After a 30-year run split between a High Street basement and the current upstairs storefront, owner Greg Hall and the Used Kids family believe that 2016 is an opportune time for the record store to relocate. Although the new 2500 Summit St. location will be less accessible to students living on campus, Hall took into account how the move might affect the traffic of Ohio State students.
But the problems that construction has caused in the past — and are currently causing with the rezoning of High Street — presented Used Kids with an ideal situation and time to begin a new chapter.
“We’ve been around a lot of the construction here several times, and with the upcoming demolition essentially three or four blocks south of us, we honestly don’t really want to try to struggle through it again,” Hall said. “When the opportunity came up that we could find a new home still kind of within that campus region, we were excited about it.”
The new establishment, situated near the corner of Summit Street and Hudson Street, will put Used Kids in a niche neighborhood-type area that fits the aesthetic and general vibe the store proudly puts off.
Being surrounded by establishments like local performance bar Rumba Café, tattoo parlor Evolved Body Art and art gallery Wild Goose Creative will add to the area between Summit and Fourth streets, creating a sense of an arts community. Hall mentioned that the new location will feel more like home because of the shared principles between the nearby establishments.
“There’s a really cool scooter shop right there, so it’s kind of a neighborhood that … I think Summit and Fourth are kind of becoming where the cool stuff is,” Hall said.
The man behind Used Kids’ emotion-provoking look and design is Hall’s “right-hand man” Tom Shannon. The DNA of the organic artwork and eye-catching fonts made possible by Shannon will be apparent at the new storefront but with new twists for dedicated customers.
“I like to kind of bring that folk-art, funky kind of vibe to the shop, so we’ll definitely have that in the new shop,” Hall said.
Two of the main advantages for Used Kids packing up and relocating include a parking lot with around 20 free parking spaces, including parking on Summit Street, and a more spread-out store setup.
The store’s current makeup, broken into sections by used and new albums or genres such as jazz and blues, has aisles that stagger the groupings of its records. The large collection of vinyl records, along with a variety of CDs, cassette tapes and zines will be transported to the more wide-open space that the Summit location offers, and this will aid in the organization of these traditional mediums.
The space will also give Hall freedom to share his collection of antique concert posters.
“It will be bigger in the sense of it will actually flow because of the way it’s structured,” Hall said. “It will actually feel bigger because here it’s cut up a little bit, but there it’s one wide straight space, so it will actually probably psychologically feel bigger, but technically the square footage is the same.”
When Used Kids Records started in 1986, the vinyl industry was dominant, but compact disc players quickly became the popular medium during the 1990s.
Over time, Used Kids survived the supposed death of the record player, and those mediums continue to bask in a reported resurgence over the past decade. Just last year, the sale of vinyl records grew by 30 percent in 2015, according to a report from Forbes in January.
Used Kids also endured the reparations of a 2001 fire, which totaled over $100,000 in damages and resulted in the transfer from the original 1992 N. High St. location to its present 1980 N. High St. residence. The trials that one of Columbus’ music staples has endured — the crippling economy and an electrical fire — makes the store’s concerns with leaving the OSU proximity seem miniscule.
“In my opinion, I think that a record store being in one location for 30 years is really abnormal, so people have become familiar with us, and my main concern would have been them feeling a sense of loss,” said Used Kids employee Ryan Eilbeck.
There is not yet a plan to resurrect the decades-long influence that Used Kids brought to the campus, but Hall said he has been mulling the idea of keeping the High Street vibes alive in the future.
“We have aspirations to bring back a small boutique shop on High Street some place, but don’t know how or when that’s going to happen, but it’s a goal of ours,” Hall said.
In the meantime, Used Kids will begin preparing for a move sometime after Record Store Day on April 16. Hall said he imagines that the record store will only be closed for a couple of days — preferably on slow days like Tuesday and Wednesday — because the new location will have been prepared for an immediate reopening.
“We might have some folks that love the shop and want to help, and I’ve had a number of people, which is really cool, reach out and express an interest in just helping,” Hall said.