Entrepreneur follows his passion: Selling old albums
By Ken Abramczyk
Nick Boor has a simple reason for starting a company that buys and sells vinyl records.
“Complete insanity,” Boor says, and then he laughs. “I collected records since I was young. I was sick of IT.”
Boor sold his IT company that specialized in managed services in October 2010 and started an online business to buy and sell vinyl records, items created from a technology that was literally shelved 30 years ago, a victim of the development of CDs.
Today Boor’s company, Vinyl Record Dude, buys and sells thousands of albums, 45s and 78s worldwide from his 3,000-square-foot office in the Airpark. Boor purchases records, sometimes thousands at a time, from collectors and fills buyers’ orders, sending out 50 to 60 packages a day, to destinations worldwide.
Boor, 34, always loved vinyl records and started collecting them as a hobby 15 years ago.
“It went from a closet to a room, to the living room and a storage unit,” Boor says. “It’s just the sound of it. It is definitely better than digital or CDs, depending on how great of condition the record is in. I love the nostalgia of it, and the design of it. You are hearing something the way they heard it in the 1940s.”
Starting his vinyl record company wasn’t an easy transition. When Boor wanted to start his business and went to the banks, he was met with skepticism. “Everyone looked at me sideways,” Boor says. “I put out a business plan. It says that records would come back and everyone looked at me as if I was insane.”
For the first three years of his business, it was a hand-to-mouth existence for Boor, but now he can actually take a salary, Boor says. Today he has three employees at his company.
Vinyl records were replaced by CDs in the late 1980s, but they have experienced a renaissance of sorts in recent years. Vinyl record sales in the United States hit 9.2 million in 2014, surpassing the previous year’s 6.1 million, representing the ninth consecutive year of growth, according to Nielsen’s annual music report.
Customers buy rock music albums the most, but Boor stocks all genres. Foreign buyers have varied tastes. Classical music is popular in China and Japan. Japanese also like “weird ‘80s pop” and death metal, Boor says. Europeans and Russians like the 1960s and 1970s rock. Americans also enjoy classic rock, too, and jazz.
His office walls reflect rock’s popularity, and an age when the albums took on the band’s personality with artistic covers, photos and posters of the band and printed lyrics. Office visitors will see a poster of Bob Dylan, and then a few feet away, the cover of Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Brain Salad Surgery” and “Woodstock.” The 1960s counterculture is remembered with the MC5 and the Stooges (with Iggy Pop) album covers that grace the wall near covers and photos of the more popular acts of Led Zeppelin, the Doors and The Who.
In another room, Boor has two vinyl flatteners, which will take warped records and flatten them. “It heats it to a certain temperature, then it cools for two hours,” Boor says. Boor says records get warped easily in the Arizona heat.
A map displays where Boor has shipped records including South Korea, the Philippines and even desolate destinations like New Caledonia and Reunion Island. Boor enjoys seeing online photographs of customers on the other side of the world; he remembered a photo of a Russian man who, after Boor sold him an album by Deep Purple, had placed online a photograph of himself smiling with the album.
Boor likes seeing the increased demand for vinyl, but quickly adds that the technology has been shelved by manufacturers for several years, and the vinyl machines cost about $130,000 to build, Boor says.
Records are ‘A Tangible Product’
Boor says he believes younger music listeners will buy the vinyl albums. “The 35 and under market looks good for the future,” Boor says. “It’s a tangible product. With a download, it’s not a tangible product.”
He uses Apple as an example to illustrate his point.
“What’s to stop Apple from charging $9.95 a month? That’s not saying that they will do that, but there is no user’s agreement when you buy a record. You buy it, it’s yours and you own a tangible object.”
Boor doesn’t sell records through his website, www.vinylrecorddude.com, but has links to eBay, Amazon, Discogs and MusicStack for albums that can be purchased online. Boor even sells old records that are of little value on Etsy to crafters who turn them into craft items to sell, such as bowls or coasters. “It’s better to recycle them that way rather than fill a Dumpster,” Boor says. “It helps the environment.”
Boor says he differs in his approach from some of other vinyl dealers in the area in that he won’t pay 50 cents an album for 20 or 30 albums. “I will make a fair offer,” he says. “Others deal with volume for as little money as possible.”
What is popular and valuable? The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, Boor says, “all the psychedelic stuff,” he says. Records of bands that, along with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, comprised the British Invasion, namely the Kinks, The Zombies, the Animals and others, are also valuable.
Audiophiles who want to place a value on old vinyl records need to examine their condition, Boor says. “The condition is the most important aspect,” Boor says. “Everyone thinks they have the ‘million dollar record,’ but if it is pretty beat up, that’s not good.”
Records that are “uniquely pressed” when they were manufactured, such as a deep groove or unusual detail, also are valuable. Look at the sentimental value too, Boor says. “If the sentimental value is higher than the tangible value, don’t sell them,” Boor says.
On his website, Boor requests customers call his office to set an appointment if they are interested in selling records to him. Purchasers can click on links to see his inventory.
Boor enjoys that he is doing something now that grew from a hobby. “I was doing IT, and I was miserable,” Boor says. “I’ve always enjoyed (vinyl) and having vinyl. I’m very lucky. I’m blessed to do something I enjoy doing.”
Vinyl Record Dude
7701 E. Gray Rd., Suite 106