Many folks do a double take when they hear there’s a new record store in Westport.
Aren’t vinyl records dead?
Not really, according to the founders of Mills Record Company at 314 Westport Road. (It’s just next to Dave’s Stagecoach Inn, in the former Bon Bon Atelier space).
“People want something tangible,” says Chris DeLine.
“People who don’t even have turntables are in here buying,” adds Judy Mills.
And although children who come into the store what to know what, exactly, is “a record,” the Washington Post reported last month that vinyl sales hit their highest point since 1997 last year.
The reasons? Some think vinyl sounds better than digital. Labels sometimes offer limited-edition vinyl records. They’re are also packaging records with MP3 download codes so people can have both a record album and an iTunes version. Then there’s the artistry and visual appeal of the album cover itself.
So Mills and DeLine think it makes perfect sense that Westport should once again have a record store.
The two teamed up to open Mills Record Company after Judy Mills recently decided to escape the corporate treadmill to follow her passion for music. I’ve always liked music. I’ve always been a fan girl,” she says.
Mills has bounced around the country a lot over the years, but always came back to Kansas City. DeLine, on the other hand, is fresh off the bus. He arrived two and a half weeks ago from Nashville.
They teamed up because Mills was a fan of a popular blog DeLine ran.
“I would find great music in Kansas City from his blog in Nashville,” she says. “When I decided to do this, I asked Chris to help.”
Now DeLine is blogging from Kansas City for the Mills Record Company blog.
Neither has ever worked in a record store before, but they have a vision of what they want to create. They’ll sell records – mostly new ones to start but they’ll start buying used ones that appeal to them as well. The racks roll away to make way for in store performances. The store will feel comfortable to customers who don’t always feel welcome in record stores.
“We’re not that snobby record store you see in the movies,” Mills says. “We want to be the spot where Kansas City comes and hangs out and listens to great music, and where local musicians and bands feel supported.”
DeLine says there will be a good mix of genres including metal, punk, and hip-hop. The store has already attracted some disenfranchised music fans.
“The local punk guys don’t feel like there’s a place for them,” he says, but they’re starting to find Mills Record Company.
So far, the store has just opened its doors with little fanfare. The founders are hoping more and more people will find them and a love of vinyl and local music will make the business work.
“I’m betting on it,” Mills says.
“Me, too,” DeLine adds.
Interview originally published May 9, 2013 by the Midtown KC Post.