Grant and Sandi Polston show off their new store, Little Shop of Records, on Dec. 4, 2012, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (TMP Photo/M. Hudgins)
Downtown Murfreesboro is a mixture of modern and vintage, and newcomer Little Shop of Records is bringing a sense of nostalgia back to the Square.
Located between Country Gourmet and City Café, the new record shop transports its customers back to a time when tunes are played on turntables, cassettes and VHS tapes are sought after, and the feeling of slick vinyl records provide tangible music.
It’s exactly what husband and wife duo Grant and Sandi Polston want - it’s what they grew up with, and it’s an experience they want to share with music lovers everywhere.
Music has always been a particularly important part of life for the couple, and both were influenced by their fathers’ love of music.
Grant Polston said his dad used to create loop tapes for bars when he wasn’t DJing or collecting music.
“He always said, ‘That’s what put you through college,’” Grant Polston recalled. “He was big into all that, and he really worked it. I grew up around that, and it’s really part of the inspiration.”
Sandy Polston said she remembers growing up hearing her dad strum his guitar and sing “City of New Orleans” and others.
“My whole love for music really comes from my dad,” she said. “He worked as a teenager and paid $200 for a Gibson. It was his baby, and we were not allowed to touch it. He was really into Simon & Garfunkel, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash. Those are things that he loved and was passionate about, and that’s where my love of music came from.”
The Polstons are passionate about music the way some enthusiasts are about paintings; It’s more than a hobby, it’s a way of life.
“We don’t watch TV, we listen to music,” Grant Polston said.
Together, the two brought their passion and knowledge of all things music to Little Shop of Records. Grant Polston provides the media expertise, while she adds her creative flair to the record store.
Vinyl 33s and 45s can be found alongside cassettes and CDs in the music section, while VHS tapes and DVDs are located through the cinema portion of the store.
Genres range in variety and include pop rock, heavy metal, punk, indie, jazz and blues, country, hip hop and rap, and even soundtracks. And of course, new and old rock ‘n’ roll is also available.
Music from every walk of life is featured on an extravagant mural of album covers displayed on the wall. It uniquely ties together the vinyl record turntables and album frames also available inside the store.
Featured in the front window is a Venus flytrap featured against a backdrop of vinyl records. It’s one of Sandi Polston's creations that highlights the store’s name - a play on words of the 1980s favorite, "Little Shop of Horrors," and its overgrown plant that proclaims “Feed me!” throughout the movie.
Near the front of the store are accessories displayed in bowls made from vinyl records. Necklaces, coin purses, purses, buttons, scarves, hats, earrings bracelets, and even incense are all tied in with a musical theme.
“That’s just something that I enjoy and I love and that complements our vision,” she said. “It is sort of an accent to what (Grant) was doing (with the media).”
Sandi Polston said she also plans to incorporate local artists’ handiwork into the accessories section of the store.
Speaking of local artists, the store's Little Shop of Horrors has a section dedicated solely to local musicians.
Bands and solo artists are invited to bring in their works and sell them in the shop. Sandi Polston said she will work her magic soon and create a local artists waterfall on one of walls to better display the local music.
“It’s one thing we do that nobody else offers,” Grant Polston said.
She added, “There’s a really big interest in that - for musicians to be able to showcase their music and share it. We’re excited about it.”
Music may be available at the click of a button, but Grant Polston said Little Shop of Records provides an experience that far outweighs digital downloads.
“A lot of people waltz into a record store with no idea what they’re going to buy,” he said. “People like to hunt through the music. It’s a different experience - click versus flipping through albums.”
Music may be slightly cheaper online, but once shipping and handling costs are added, the amount paid is comparable to prices of items inside Little Shop of Records.
“You might save a dollar, but you don’t know what you’re getting until you get it, especially when you buy used records on (sites like) Amazon.com,” he said. “Usually, people want to inspect it - is it scratched, does it actually include the poster, is the cover in good condition - all the little things that go in with a record purchase.”
At Little Shop of Records, customers can examine and even play and listen to vinyls in the store. Special orders can also be placed with a down payment, he added.