Jan 31, 2011

Guestroom Records

The city of Norman is a college town filled to the brim with cool art galleries, bars, great restaurants, music venues, indie shops and a ton of other stuff that any young hip go-getter can stand behind. While there's plenty of material to choose from, I feel the need to highlight a place that's very near and dear to my heart: Guestroom Records.

Guestroom Records is an Oklahoma hipster* institution, serving the general cool faction of the state since it first opened back in 2003. It's hard to go anywhere in the OKC metro area without seeing one of their stickers on the back of a car or a Guestroom t-shirt being worn by an impossibly beautiful girl with glasses and cute bangs. Hell, I even have a friend who's lawnmower has a few Guestroom stickers on it.

The permeation of Guestroom's image is certainly no accident. Owners Travis Searle and Justin Sowers started Guestroom in college as a humble record distribution enterprise. In less than a decade they've managed to open two stores (the other being in Oklahoma City) and are seeing their sales rise in a time where most other record stores are barely getting by. The guys have cultivated an incredibly loyal clientele of music lovers through love of the game, and good ol' fashioned business sense.

If Size Records is the diggers paradise, then Guestroom is for those with a well planned record shopping agenda. Their catalog is impeccably organized, digitally inventoried, and voluminous. Guestroom reliably carries new releases, and has an excellent track record for keeping the classics stocked on the shelf at all times.

Guestroom also runs a record label from the store under the same moniker, and has put out some wonderful records from locals like The Starlight Mints, Rainbows Are Free, The Boom Bang, and Shi++y/Awesome.

Ten years ago, I used to take vacations just for the purposes of finding a decent record store. Now when I travel, I don't even bother. Between Size Records, and both Guestroom locations all of my record needs are fulfilled inside and out. Whether searching for obscure collectible rarities, or just making sure I have a run of the mill copy of Meat is Murder I can rest assured that my record consumption is taken care of on a very local level.

What I find more comforting however, is that both shops have a deep involvement in our local music scene. Sure, business is business, and there's money to be made, but I can honestly say that my town's record stores care about, and help foster the local counter culture.


* I mean hipster in the non-pejorative sense, as in general bohemian types.

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