"We share this space with a few other sellers—they do most of the vintage (antique) stuff," Lana Rebel says as she invites me into Old Paint, the record store she recently opened with co-owner Kevin Mayfield. Shopping at Old Paint, in the southern portion of downtown's Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Ave., feels like you've been given access to a music fanatic's personal library. The reason for that is simple: If it didn't come from Rebel or Mayfield's extensive collection, the music stocking the bins was personally selected and bought by the two, and it would be fair to assume that one or both have extensive knowledge about each product they sell.
With the couple's musical background (both are musicians currently playing together in the rock band Hermanitos) and business experience at Tanline Printing, it seemed inevitable in hindsight that they would eventually open a record store. "Kevin and I had always been wanting to do a record store but when the space opened up, we were now really in the position to start one," Rebel says. "Taking over an entire retail space would've been insanely scary and it turned out that one of the ladies who works here, her mother had been doing vintage resale for a long time over at Copper Oak Tree. They got this space and we asked if we could rent part of it. They loved the idea and we said, 'Great!'"
Rebel and Mayfield first dug into their own formidable record collection to stock Old Paint's bins, and filled in the blanks with purchases from other like-minded music fans. "We bought from one particular collection and it was very hard to show restraint," Rebel explains with a laugh. "Half the stuff we got there we took home. Well, we've got to listen to it a few times before we can let it go."
They also turned to friends and associates for new product, Rebel says. "Right now, the new releases we carry are things that (Portland, Ore.-based label) Mississippi Records has put out. We're friends with them from when we used to live in Portland. I'm getting ready to do another order with them because we're out of records by Dead Moon (who are signed to Mississippi). Also, we deal with Wantage Records in Missoula, Mont. They've put out a bunch of stuff that I've done over the years—Lana Rebel stuff and Last of the Juanitas. I've asked them to send us a lot of records. (Between the two labels) I've got a pretty cool selection of things.
"That's what our new stuff is now but eventually we plan on ordering reissues of blues and jazz stuff that's been out of print for a while. Right now, our blues and jazz sections in the store aren't very large because we tend to hoard those records at home. But there have been people we've been talking to about getting their stuff in here because they have more hip-hop. One of the DJs (at the nearby music venue/bar/restaurant La Cocina) is helping us get a good selection. We're just buying all kinds of stuff.
"We're definitely trying to keep it somewhat special. I don't necessarily need to stock the usual suspects; I want you to come in here and see records that you don't normally see when you're digging through the piles at a thrift store or another used record store."
As I flipped through bins of records that ranged from original pressings of vintage punk albums to Sesame Street soundtracks, Rebel pointed out Old Paint's low prices. "We're really working on our pricing so that it's fair. I don't want to get all weird about rare records. I want people to be able to buy them, take them home and listen to them. We want to leave the Internet auctions to the Internet."
The store's location has also been an asset to its immediate success. "Business has been good—very steady," Rebel says. "It helps that we stay open late through the dinner crowd and then the late-night crowd. It's fun for people to cruise through here. The record store's demographic is the same as the club's."
Rebel says they plan on selling more local music as well as increasing their stock of stereo equipment, books and art. But for the present, she seems content with providing an experience for customers that is hard to find elsewhere.
"We want people to come in here, drop 20 bucks, and get at least one super-high-quality record or at least three or four cool ones. That's kind of how I shop for records. I'll get paid and then take 20 bucks down to the record shop and see what I can get."