In Athens, Wuxtry Records Celebrates 40 Years Of Vinyl | WABE 90.1 FM

In Athens, Wuxtry Records Celebrates 40 Years Of Vinyl

Feb 29, 2016

 

One of the oldest record stores in the South is celebrating its four decades in the music business.

Wuxtry Records opened in a space on Foundry Street in Athens on March 1, 1976, then moved to a downtown corner three months later and expanded over the years, The Athens Banner-Herald reported.

Owner Dan Wall calls that space "the best corner in the best college town in America."

The weathered yellow sign and windows covered in artist posters have been icons of the store since Wall started it with friend Mark Methe.

In 1976, on a mission to start a record store, the two drove from Illinois down south in a newly purchased Ford station wagon towing a U-Haul storage container filled with records.

"We were looking for a college town that didn't have a record store because that's who had records back then is college kids, and they always needed money so they'd sell used copies to us. That was the plan," Methe said.

First they drove to Knoxville, Tennessee, but Methe said he couldn't imagine himself living there. They'd heard about a little town called Athens a few hours away, and when they found it Methe and Wall set up shop immediately.

"The way I remember it we had 3,000 records, and after the first week we were down to about 300 of those, so we said, 'We better find a way to get more records or else this isn't going to work,'" Methe said. 

The store was so successful that in 1978 Methe moved to Decatur to start a second Wuxtry location near Emory University's campus that is still open today.

"If you're a real music lover, if you're a real music nerd, really any kind of music, even if it's your first time, it's kind of like coming home.  You're around people who share your love and your passion for making music and sharing music," says Martin Matheny, the music director at WUGA, in Athens.

It took some effort to stay alive in the last four decades when the medium for music was almost constantly in flux.

"When CDs became popular we had to move them to the front and the records to the back, but now the CDs are over to the side and the records are taking over," Wall said. "We're constantly moving around the living room furniture . we had to. So many stores like ours went out of business, but we made changes that kept us successful."