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Bill Eginton opened Arkansas Record-CD Exchange 35 years ago in 1985 at 4212 MacArthur Drive in North Little Rock, AR. Three years later, a fire destroyed the store. After a temporary move, the store was rebuilt and has grown from a record collector’s dream. It now houses the state’s largest vinyl retail outlet. For over three decades, Eginton has been selling, buying & trading vinyl records, CDs, cassettes; even 78s, 8-tracks & reel-to-reel tapes. More recently, as big box stores closed or drastically scaled back on music, Arkansas Record-CD Exchange took up the slack, & easily carries the widest selection of new, original & re-issued titles on both vinyl & CD. “When someone shops here & tells me our store is as good or better than anywhere else they’ve been from New York to San Francisco or even Germany, I know we’re doing it right & I’m proud to be doing it here in North Little Rock, Arkansas”, Eginton said.
Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com
[0:00:08.8] GM: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners an insider’s view into starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk-taking and the commonalities of successful people. Connect with Kerry through her candid, often funny and always informative weekly blog. There, you'll read, learn and may comment about her life as a 21st century wife, mother, daughter and entrepreneur.
Now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.
[0:00:41.2] KM: Thank you, son Gray. My guest today has an unusual business and story. Following his passion for music and collecting music, Mr. Bill Eginton.
[0:00:53.5] BE: Very good.
[0:00:54.4] KM: Thank you. Everybody says Eginton. When he told me – he told me when we came on it’s Eginton. Founded in 1985 Arkansas Record CD Exchange in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Three years later, this newly formed business unfortunately burned to the ground, destroying all its precious one-of-a-kind inventory. Through friends and family donations, Mr. Eginton hung in there and rebuilt his music memorabilia store.
Now and for the last three decades, Eginton has been buying, selling and trading vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, 78s, 8-tracks and reel-to-reel tapes. As big box stores scaled back on music, Arkansas Record CD Exchange found an opportunity to fill a market niche. Today his store offers the widest selection of new, original and reissued titles on both vinyl and CD.
Arkansas Record and CD Exchange has been reported to have over 100,045 single records, more than 70,000 albums and in addition, there are autographed concert programs, a giant Kiss doll, neon signs, electric trains and other pop-culture memorabilia. It's been said Arkansas Record and CD Exchange is like a museum, where everything's for sale.
It is a pleasure to welcome to the table the passionate music collector and eccentric businessman, Mr. Bill Eginton. Joining us today at the table is Bill's longtime friend and well-known DJ, Mr. Tom Wood from TOM-FM and the old Magic 105 station.
Before we get to how you guys know each other, I want to ask Bill about his life before he founded the record store, because that's where everything picked up, Bill. Everything I read about you began in 1985 when your daughter Flora was born and you opened your business, Arkansas Record and CD Exchange. Who was Bill Eginton before that?
[0:02:59.0] BE: Well, I was just a guy that was lost in – I lived in Minnesota and graduated high school in ’71. Joined the carnival. Joined the carnival over three years. I was a ride foreman, did scrambler. After that, I started bartending. I’ve bartended and managed this nightclub in Minnesota that was – it was as big as the – like Sticky Fingers is. Booked in all kinds of big shows. Dion was our biggest and Gary Lewis, The Playboys, Grassroots.
At the time, this is in the mid-70s to 1980 when I met a lady that was singing in the bar. Her name was Barbara Raney. She was from Arkansas. We got along well enough to know she said, “You want a chance to come to Arkansas?” I said, “Well, there's KAAY.” There must be some great people down there, because the Mighty 1090, we used to listen to Bigger Street in Northern Minnesota at night. Did all kinds of things at night there.
We came down here and I met her parents and eventually got married and had a child. Flora was born in October of ’84, the week we opened up the record store. Then I got a job down here bartending in 1980 finally at John Barleycorn's. Bartended with Shorty Smalls, bartended with Mexico Chiquito and managed Barbara’s career.
[0:04:33.4] KM: Where's Barbara now?
[0:04:34.5] BE: She lives in town and she plays the ukulele. She does some background vocals for a lot of artists in town.
[0:04:42.1] KM: Barbara when you first came here, you managed her career, but you somehow got to know all these guys on the radio station. How did y'all all get to know each other?
[0:04:51.5] BE: We started promoting people in the night clubs. Through the night clubs, you meet people in radio, you want to get your stuff on the air and get the music played. We met the producer. Then one day, I came home and I said I rented a building because I've always wanted to have a record store and the lady came up to me. Her name was with Lukowski and it's in the building I'm in now, still in the building. She says, “You're going to sell used records and levy?” I said, “I'm sure going to try.”
I rented the building and took care of my daughter down there, raised her down there at the store. On May 14th, May 13th, 1987 was my birthday. We had a party down there. May 14th, the store burned down. The donut shop caught on fire and I got my daughter out and the fire took care of the rest. Thanks to all my friends and support. They're all knowing what they could do. I was the captain of the ship and my friends Tom Wood and Magic 105 and Reed Mitchell, he's manager of the store now. He's been there for five years. He's been with me since that time. There's several people that were there at the fire, or before the fire that are still friends. Now they still come to happy hour every night.
[0:06:07.2] KM: When I told Tom that you were coming on the radio he said, “Oh, I want to come.” You do have a lot of loyal old friends.
[0:06:14.1] BE: Yeah, I'm very blessed to have the friends I've had.
[0:06:17.0] KM: Let's go back to your childhood a little bit. Your mother called up the carnival and asked him to come get you?
[0:06:23.9] BE: Well, yeah. They come pick you up. Mm-hmm.
[0:06:26.1] KM: How'd she know that?
[0:06:29.4] BE: It was an ad in the paper and said, “Wanted. Drivers wanted.”
[0:06:31.3] KM: She said, “My son can do that.”
[0:06:32.7] BE: Yeah. Well, it was pretty serious. I mean, it was like going through the service. I mean, I learned the difference between right and wrong in there and there was no – and then everybody gets along that no matter who you are, you're a nice person and an honest person or you're not. Anything else didn’t matter.
[0:06:47.8] KM: How long did you do that?
[0:06:48.7] BE: Three years.
[0:06:49.7] KM: Why did you quit?
[0:06:51.4] BE: It was hard work. I just didn't have enough money to buy a ride.
[0:06:57.0] KM: Did you travel around?
[0:06:58.8] BE: Yeah, we traveled around the State of Minnesota and –
[0:07:00.1] KM: What's the weirdest thing that ever happened to you?
[0:07:04.8] BE: You mean this week?
[0:07:07.7] KM: As a carny. What was the weirdest thing that probably ever happened?
[0:07:12.2] BE: I don't know. There's things that happened that I really can't tell you. That's weird. What comes to my mind is we used to go open up the carnival early at 10:00 in the morning, because of people at the state hospital would come out. They’d have helmets on their heads and boxing gloves to protect themselves and they want to ride the rides. This guy got on the merry-go-round, on the Ferris wheel and he got told to stay back, stay back and he wouldn't stay back. Then first one came and hit him on the head and knocked him down. There's lots of stories like that. That was in Cambridge, Minnesota.
[0:07:47.7] KM: What did you learn not to do?
[0:07:50.1] BE: I learned that you need to show up for work on time and be responsible.
[0:07:54.9] KM: All right, this is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with the music collector, founder of the Arkansas Record and CD Exchange in North Little Rock, Arkansas. We’ll talk about his inventory and the business of collecting and we'll get Bill and Tom talking about the good old days and how the music industry of today has changed. We'll be back after the break.
[0:08:17.2] GM: You’re listening to Up In your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago with only $400, Kerry founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed. Over this time, Kerry's business and leadership knowledge grew. As early as 2004, she began sharing her knowledge in her weekly blog. In 2009, she founded the non-profit Friends of Dreamland Ballroom and in 2014 Brave Magazine, a bi-annual publication.
Today she has branched out into this very radio show and podcast. Each week, you'll hear candid conversations between her and her guests about real-world experiences on a variety of businesses and topics that we hope you'll find interesting, inspiring and educational. Stay up to date by going to flagandbanner.com and joining our e-mail list. You'll receive our popular water cooler weekly e-blast that notifies you of our upcoming guests, happenings at Dreamland Ballroom, sales at flagandbanner.com, access to Brave Magazine articles and Kerry’s current blog post, all that in one weekly e-mail.
Telling American-made stories, selling American-made flags, the flagandbanner.com. Back to you Kerry.
[0:09:27.3] KM: You’re listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I'm speaking today with music collector Mr. Bill Eginton, Founder of Arkansas Record and CD Exchange in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Joining us is Bill's longtime friend, DJ Tom Wood.
For the break, we talked about Bill was a carnie and that his mama kicked him out of the house for drinking too much when he was about 18 and sent him on the road in Minnesota, did you say?
[0:09:50.7] BE: Yeah, I was 16-years-old when I hit the carnival, first time driving semi-trucks.
[0:09:55.5] KM: We learned what he learned about that. You met your wife there who happened to be singing, Barbara Raney, and she was from Arkansas.
[0:10:03.3] BE: Came down here and I visited down here and it was in November. I got out here at 76 degrees out on the deck and I'm calling, “Man, I'm not going back.” If you ever had 40 below for a couple of weeks, you'll know if you take the heat anytime.
[0:10:17.5] KM: Yeah. What was the first thing you did? You didn't open your record store right off the bat.
[0:10:22.2] BE: No. I was promoting Barbara's career and working as a bartender. That's when I met Tommy Smith and Tom Wood and David Ellen and Ross with 105, because I was out looking for records, collecting records. When I talked to David and Ross they said, “You need to talk to Tommy Smith.” Tommy Smith said, “You need to talk to Tom Wood.” Would I give up? No. I found Tom.
[0:10:45.5] TW: Our trick usually worked, but it didn't work on you.
[0:10:48.3] BE: I said, “Yeah.” I said, “I don't care. I'll take any records, stuff you're not using, extra copies.” He’s like, “This guy won't go away. Throw some records at him.”
[0:10:58.3] TW: This is how he originally stocked up his record store was he was coming to the radio station and you have just hundreds, probably thousands of albums and 45s and stuff. That was the seed beginnings.
[0:11:13.0] BE: Yeah, it was current stuff and it was extra catalogue stuff. I started in the record, so you got to understand that the store we started in was the third size it is now. I started with a 150 records of my own records. Any influx we got was great. Then Tom and I got together by doing an ad together, as an ad campaign where I had this great idea.
Not in my wildest mind did I think that how big the city was and how big the ads were and how much – how busy Tom was, but he goes, “That's a good idea, Bill. I'll do that with you.” We sat down and wrote these ads together that aired on the radio and they brought people in.
[0:11:51.6] KM: What were they for? Your record show? Your record store?
[0:11:54.0] BE: Mm-hmm.
[0:11:54.7] TW: It was just an unusual ad, because it was the two of us having a conversation and talking about what the store was going to be like. This is a brand new venture for him back then. It really did catch the ear of people.
[0:12:05.5] KM: Was peaches around? The Peaches record store?
[0:12:07.2] BE: Yeah. Peaches and Discount. Jack Garner was head of Peaches and Discount and he was very, very cordial to me. He put our business cards signs on his on both his counters and said as long as if they didn't have it, they send the people to us.
[0:12:21.4] KM: It was a friendly – it was a friendly competitor.
[0:12:23.2] BE: Yes.
[0:12:24.2] KM: What was your vision for your store when you started? You're bartending, you're making a fine living, your wife's making a fine living and what was your vision?
[0:12:31.8] BE: It wasn’t fine living. I’m living on 20, 30 bucks a night and tips, it was a blessing that I was making that. It was far from a fine living.
[0:12:40.9] KM: What was your vision for the store? What got it started in your mind? What were you thinking?
[0:12:46.5] BE: I visited record stores all over the country and I wanted to have a record store you could go into and that you could have a selection of 45s, LPs, posters and just have – what I wanted in a record store was collectibles. Though it catered to a wide variety of people and not just a certain select metal people, or just hip-hop people, or just country people, it would cover a wide variety of everyone.
[0:13:13.8] KM: Are your parents musicians?
[0:13:15.6] BE: No.
[0:13:16.1] KM: How did you find this love of music?
[0:13:18.7] BE: They put me in front of a record player when I was four-years-old and a stack of records and told me to enjoy myself.
[0:13:23.9] KM: People probably listening don't realize the digital – before the digital world what a radio station was like. Tom what was a radio station like?
[0:13:31.3] TW: Well, you had all the music was on vinyl. You would have little card catalogs that would divide the music into various categories and the program director would say, “Okay, in the course of an hour if we're a rock station, we're going to play two songs from the A category, one song from the B category, two songs from the C category.” We'd have taken all that music and separated into categories based on the era it was from and whether it was fast or slow, and you want to balance out the hour.
It was up to the dependability of the guys on the air to follow that system, because it wasn't computerized. Literally, you had a shoebox with file cards and the name of the song and the name of the artist and how long the song was and you're supposed to play the first one. You play it, you put it in the back and that's how you would rotate all the music.
You would constantly have to refresh the collection of vinyl that you had, because when you queue up a song on a turntable, you're literally turning it backwards with the needle already on the groove, so that it's half a turn from the beginning of the song, so that I can say at 65 degrees at Magic 105 here's Buffalo Springfield. When I let go of the turntable, it starts running and I know how long it's going to be before the song actually starts.
Well, that first few seconds of the song you've ground that stylus into the vinyl so many times that after a while, the beginning of every song sssst-grrrrr is like that. You constantly have to refresh those pieces of vinyl. Bill was a source for all of that stuff. In return, we give him his pick of what stuff we didn't need at the radio station.
[0:15:15.1] BE: Yeah, it worked out great. They need stuff and they get classic records that they're looking for. There wasn't any – you couldn't download at that time. You actually had to have – find the hardcopy or record to play. I was viable there at that time.
[0:15:30.2] TW: No, you were more than viable. You were essential. One of the things that you do when you go to appearances for a rock station is that you're always giving away music. You're trying to get people to come to Arkansas Flag and Banner, because you're having a 4th of July sale and you've hired a disc jockey to come out there and play music and be at the store. Well when those people come, hopefully they're going to buy your product, but you also want to give them prizes for just showing up, radio station prizes. They never want the new CD, or the new album that you've got to give away. They always want old classic stuff.
For the longest time, we didn't have any of that to give away because the record companies won't give you library product. We would go to Bill and we trade out advertising and come back to the radio station with a 100 cool old albums. I'm talking about Blue Oyster Cult and Rolling Stones and Beatles albums. When people would come to the events that we would do like at Flag and Banner, or a car dealer, they'd freak out. It would be like shopping for a cool old album, but it was free just because you came to our event. We never could have done that without Bill.
[0:16:32.8] KM: You were really at that time filling a niche that you knew the radio stations hadn’t. A fire happened. You've found the niche. You've created a relationship with all the radio stations in town. You and Tom are doing commercials together. You have a birthday party and the donut shop next door catches fire.
[0:16:51.2] BE: Yes in the strip mall at 1:00 the afternoon. Mm-hmm. It was terrible. My friends rallied around me and they just wanted a captain of the ship and I told them what I needed done. Lynn Fitzgerald was building racks and Hugh Harris was sub-contracting the place out and I had David Grace helping me and all these people are still around helping today.
[0:17:13.4] KM: You moved it down the street for a couple of years.
[0:17:16.8] BE: We opened five days later after the fire of May 19th, 1987. Sam Cross found me a new location while the building was still smoldering. We opened it. We opened May 19th and with a 100 records, a telephone and a little table for my daughter to sit on. We were there till December 1st 1988 when the shopping center reopened. I rented the building and we started building new racks down there. Took a while to build all the new racks.
[0:17:43.5] KM: It's unbelievable what it looks like inside. I went by today, I took pictures of it inside, it's the cleanest, most organized store I've ever been in. I thought I'm going to go in and it's going to be this haphazard-looking, disheveled memorabilia place. It’s pristine, it's organized, it's labeled. I took pictures. I'll post them next week with your podcast to show people how nice it is.
[0:18:09.3] BE: Well, thank you. I really appreciate you coming by to see it today, because it meant a lot that you really would take that much interest and not just having us up here for the show, but that you actually see what the store look like.
[0:18:21.8] KM: It's a great place.
[0:18:22.5] BE: Thank you.
[0:18:23.1] KM: Tom, do you remember where you were when you heard that his place had burned?
[0:18:26.6] TW: I was probably at the radio station, because of course that happened in the day time. It wasn't an overnight fire. I think all of us immediately think that that's what happens when fires take place as it happens in the middle of the night. I imagine, we started getting phone calls right away and tried to figure out how can we help, what can we do? You just open the mics and start talking to the people. That's real local radio to try to rally forces around some place that everybody loves.
[0:18:53.3] BE: That was the best press I ever had. I got more coverage that day than I’ve ever –
[0:18:58.6] KM: Best worst press I ever had.
[0:19:00.7] BE: Everybody, as soon as the phone got hooked back up, everybody's calling how could they help, and they did. The records came in. Of course, there was always the guy that would walk in and I'd had – we didn't have any racks. It just had 200 records in the floor and go, “Is this all you got?” I’m like, “We burned down a week ago.” I mean, give me a – Take a look at this stuff. You may see something you like in there.
[0:19:24.9] KM: Today the radios changed. It's all digital. Where do your records come from today?
[0:19:29.9] BE: Well, there's been this big resurgence in vinyl in the last four or five years. 180 grams is a way with the vinyl. We've got five, six different distributors across the United States that sell new vinyl. Reed heads up ordering the new stuff and he does a good job with that.
[0:19:50.2] KM: Let's talk about the evolution of music. You started your record store when vinyl was popular, then it went to CDs. Did you think, “Oh, my gosh. I'm going to go out of business.”
[0:20:02.3] BE: What I was thinking is that I had these records for all these years and there was never anything wrong with records. I just kept stockpiling it. I mean, people were selling them by the pickup loads and I kept buying more and more records. Of course, we were buying CDs too as well, but every store in town started carrying CDs. Circuit City and Best Buy and Target, all these other stores are carrying CDs, and so we didn't sell as many, but we had used ones which was a novelty then. There's only other record store in town at the time, was Been-Around Records. John Harris had been there 37 years.
[0:20:35.7] KM: Still?
[0:20:36.6] BE: Still there. Yeah.
[0:20:37.9] KM: Did you think though, “Oh, my goodness. The industry's changing so much. They're going to one day they have everything on their iPod and no one's going to buy records again.”
[0:20:47.1] BE: I still don't know what an iPod is. I just felt that there’d be enough people – enough older and people interested that would be interested in spinning records, or cassettes, or compact discs, or reel-to-reels, or there’d be some medium that people would still want a hard copy of stuff.
Fortunately, I made it this far. Now people are buying records. We encourage them to shop locally, because they don't have to pay for their merchandise before they buy it at our store, like you do online. You got to buy it on – you have to pay upfront, so you get to see what you're buying first and you get to talk to me or Reed and get some input about music, or talk about concerts, or talk about what new releases are and you get a lot more feedback, a lot more interaction.
[0:21:33.2] KM: You said it went from vinyl to CDs.
[0:21:36.4] BE: You're right. It went from vinyl to CDs. Then it went to the computer. Then the CDs dropped off and now there's back to records again.
[0:21:45.5] KM: Full circle.
[0:21:46.5] BE: Yeah. It's quite a ride. I've seen people that have said they haven't come in in 20 years and they – or they said their dad used to bring them in. I don't know how I'm going to get to the point, my grandpa used to bring me in here.
[0:21:59.9] KM: You might. When I took a picture of your place today when I was down there and I sent it to a bunch of people back at work, I wouldn't got in the car. After I'd driven off, I got all these texts from people saying, “Pick me up Carole King's tapestry album while you're there.” Do you have that?
[0:22:17.8] BE: Yes, ma’am. We do. Brand-new copy. 180-gram reissue. I'm sure we do. Unless someone bought it between the time we saw you today and now. We carry one copy of everything, unless it's very popular, then we carry multiple copies.
[0:22:34.7] KM: When other stores are not selling as much music, you're gearing up and selling more.
[0:22:40.3] BE: Yeah, we're trying to gear up to sell more. The thing about people asking about the records have really picked up now. “Aren't you selling more records?” I said, “Yes, we are.” Now you've got to realize that now Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million and Target and Dillard's Guitar Center, everybody's selling records now.
[0:22:55.6] KM: No.
[0:22:56.4] BE: Yeah.
[0:22:57.3] KM: I thought everybody had quit selling stuff like that.
[0:22:59.4] BE: No, no. They all got them now. You had to quit selling CDs. Now people are coming in, because people say, “Well, what's on the CD?” We carry all – we still carry a full line of CDs for those people that can't find them anymore, because now all the other stores quit carrying those CDs. Now we're back into stocking those.
[0:23:14.6] KM: Having grown up with vinyl and knowing what Tom was talking about when they get rutted out, I don't know what the word is when your –
[0:23:22.0] BE: Queue burned.
[0:23:23.3] KM: Oh, there you go.
[0:23:24.4] TW: We got harmony.
[0:23:27.0] KM: Why do people want vinyl again? Where out?
[0:23:31.4] BE: It's the sound.
[0:23:32.3] TW: Yeah, there's a warmth to it that you don't get done some of the digital recordings.
[0:23:37.4] BE: It's not compressed. It has grooves in it and the reproduction is better. You got to have a good stereo. I mean, that's the whole idea. You have to have – you can't go out to Target and buy a $79 box that plays CDs, cassettes and records. All of a sudden, you're going to feel this, “Oh, this is great.” That thing is for to take to a picnic. You've got to have a good amplifier, speakers and a turntable and a good cartridge and you'll hear a lot better sound. Like Tom said, it’s a warmer sound, it's a deeper sound and it's not compressed.
[0:24:13.8] TW: Some people have kept all that equipment in good shape in their lives. They invested years ago, decades ago in good stereo components and they've kept it up. There's other people who are just now getting into the vinyl wave and they're investing brand-new in that equipment, just like these stores are starting to carry vinyl when they hadn't carried music in a long time. I would imagine there's some stores, they're going to start carrying components.
[0:24:37.5] BE: Yeah. I think you're right. There's so many components and it's so confusing. I tell people, we tell me what we know, what we have to get online and do – get into a chat room and talk and see just what your budget is and what does the best value you can buy. It's like buying a car. Do you want to buy a Geo, a Honda, or a Lamborghini?
[0:24:56.2] KM: Lamborghini.
[0:24:57.6] BE: You can spend $50,000 on a turntable.
[0:25:00.7] KM: Oh, wow.
[0:25:01.8] BE: Or else, you can spend $500 to $600 and get a really good one.
[0:25:05.6] KM: Wait. It just turns. What's the big deal?
[0:25:08.5] TW: Well, it's the quality of it and the lack of rumble and just the precision of the instrument. It really is what it is. I'm like you. I would never go out and spend a $1,000 on a turntable. There's something in there, out there that's perfectly suitable for me for a few hundred dollars.
[0:25:24.3] KM: Tom, did you keep your records?
[0:25:25.9] TW: I didn't keep a lot of records.
[0:25:27.1] KM: I don't have any records.
[0:25:28.1] TW: I have all my Beatles stuff, just because I'm a fan. I've got maybe a few select other things. At the peak when I had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of personally owned records, I couldn't even tell you what I did with them.
[0:25:40.2] KM: I sold mine at a garage sale. They probably ended up at your shop, Bill.
[0:25:44.3] BE: Maybe that, or they ended up on eBay.
[0:25:47.7] KM: What's your favorite genre, or do you have one?
[0:25:50.2] BE: Oh, I think that my favorite type of music is Dion The Wanderer.
[0:25:55.0] TW: 50s.
[0:25:55.7] BE: Runaround Sue.
[0:25:57.1] TW: Late 50s, early 60s.
[0:25:58.4] BE: Muddy Waters. Frank Zappa, that kind of stuff.
[0:26:02.0] TW: When you own a record store, you have eclectic taste.
[0:26:04.5] KM: You hired a full time manager, Mr. Reed Mitchell. Tell us about that. I asked Reed actually to come on today with the guys and he said, “I can't. I have to run the store.”
[0:26:14.9] BE: Yeah, he's doing a great job down here. We've known him since the 80s. He came in before the fire. We used to work at radio station in southern Arkansas and then we got him hooked up with Tom Wood and he got onto Magic 105 and he'd come and fill in for me at different times and he worked there. We helped each other move a couple of times. We've been to concerts, several concerts together. There's several things he remembers that I don't. As a matter of fact, in September 30th was his five-year anniversary of being a full-time manager.
[0:26:49.8] TW: I never would have guessed it's been that long.
[0:26:51.7] BE: That's what he told me. I didn't think it was that long, but we get along very well and love music together and we're talking – it's just like being in high school together, talking every day about this band and he's always playing out some new music, or some new grooves. You wouldn't believe all the good music that's being – is out there today that's not being played, because there's no radio station that supports any new music that – what am I trying to say?
[0:27:19.3] TW: Well, that's not part of the big machine. If it's a new Taylor Swift, they're going to play it. These bands that are just artists, they're true artists in their genre of music. There's not an outlet in commercial radio forum.
[0:27:32.5] BE: Some places only have a playlist of and not as many records. There's so much music to hear.
[0:27:38.4] KM: What's the answer?
[0:27:41.3] BE: Well, the answer is we love to have a radio station and put some DJs on it. As soon as I strike, get down to Pine Bluff down there and strike a couple million, I'll put that in.
[0:27:51.3] KM: Don't you think that's what the KABF is?
[0:27:53.9] TW: Yes. That's the flagbearer for what Bill's talking about. We're extremely lucky in a city this size to have such an active community radio station, because they really do have shows. It may only be a couple hours a week, but it's people who are passionate about new music.
[0:28:11.3] BE: It's really good.
[0:28:12.9] KM: I went to this website called VinylMe, where you were voted the best record store in Arkansas by VinylMe.com. They did a best record stores in America campaign and they said in their best list, this is what they said, I quote, “These aren't necessarily the record stores with the best prices, or the deepest selection. You can use Yelp for that.” They continued with, “Each record store featured has a story that goes beyond what's on its shelves. These stories have history, foster a sense of community and means something to the people who frequent them.”
[0:28:55.2] TW: That's a perfect description of the Arkansas Record and CD Exchange.
[0:28:58.6] KM: They go on to say this about your store. This is what they said about your store. You'll like this. “It's part record store Mecca, collectors paradise and sanctuary for those who not only need their vinyl fixed, but need to talk with other weary travelers who get why an Evel Knievel lunchbox and a vintage J.J. Cale album matter more than ever in the digital streaming age.”
[0:29:24.7] BE: Greg Spradlin is the man that wrote this article. He's has very, very kind words.
[0:29:31.5] KM: He's very colorful and he writes some really funny things about Arkansas. I really enjoyed this article. I'll put a link to it on flagandbanner.com. It's VinylMe.com and it's a really fun article, not just about your store, but about Arkansas altogether. He lists all the great musicians we've here; Johnny Cash, Sister Rosetta, Levon Helm, Charlie Rich, Al Green, Pharoah Sanders, Glen Campbell. I mean, we had a lot of important musicians.
[0:29:59.1] BE: There's a lot and there's a lot of current guys that are great too; Gil Franklin's one. He helped me think of all these guys we got.
[0:30:05.3] TW: Well, the entire group of The Salty Dogs, what an amazing group that is. Yeah, Nick Devlin, Gil Franklin, all these guys have been playing around for decades.
[0:30:14.1] KM: Bonnie Montgomery. Bonnie Montgomery.
[0:30:17.4] TW: Yes, Charlotte Dale.
[0:30:19.3] BE: Yes. Let's talk about all the people we got now too.
[0:30:24.2] KM: Mm-hmm. Amy –
[0:30:25.6] BE: Garland.
[0:30:25.8] TW: Garland.
[0:30:26.2] KM: Amy Garland. All right, this is a great place to take a break. We only got about five or seven minutes. When we come back, we're going to continue our conversation with music collector, Bill Eginton, Founder of Arkansas Record and CD exchange in North Little Rock, Arkansas and his friend, renowned DJ, Mr. Tom Wood. We'll be right back.
[0:30:43.8] ANNOUNCER: Friends of Dreamland are proud to sponsor Up In your Business with Kerry McCoy. Dreamland Ballroom located on the third floor of the flagandbanner.com building in the historic Taborian Hall, is a non-profit dedicated to bringing back the music, the history and the party of the Dreamland Ballroom. Our annual fundraiser, Dancing Into Dreamland will be a tournament of past champions to celebrate the 10th year.
Mark Friday November 15th at 7:00 p.m. on your calendar. The night will include a dance competition, where audience members text their votes for their favorite acts, a silent auction, free hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and your opportunity to experience the magic and imagine the music of the legends that played on the Dreamland stage, like Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and many more. Tickets available at dreamlandballroom.org for the 10th annual Dancing Into Dreamland.
[0:31:36.1] KM: You’re listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I'm speaking today with music collector, Mr. Bill Eginton, Founder of Arkansas Record and CD Exchange in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and his longtime friend and local DJ, Mr. Tom Wood is joining us at the table.
Bill, you said with the growing interest in vinyl and the addition of a full-time manager, you're ready for the next 30 years. What does that look like?
[0:32:01.7] BE: It's looking good.
[0:32:02.9] KM: A young wife, let's just go ahead and say that.
[0:32:05.0] BE: Yes, he's wonderful.
[0:32:06.0] KM: Who used to work for Arkansas Flag and Banner. Shout out to Rachel. I didn't realize until today that you were married to my co-worker, Rachel.
[0:32:15.4] BE: Yeah, so what a blessing. I've lived a blessed life I'm very thankful. The record store – the outlook is we're just going to keep going and see what happens and keep an eye on the market. We've always based our inventory on people walking through that door and whatever people ask for is what we get them. We try to do the best we can, as far as servicing the public and being very supportive of local musicians and do whatever I can.
[0:32:40.4] KM: What are your hours?
[0:32:41.9] BE: We're open Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 to 7:00.
[0:32:45.4] KM: Do you have a website?
[0:32:47.0] BE: Yes, we do. It's arcd.com.
[0:32:49.4] KM: Can you buy records there?
[0:32:51.2] BE: No, we don't have a list of our stuff on –
[0:32:54.1] KM: It'd be impossible. It would absolutely be impossible.
[0:32:58.5] BE: Yeah. I've often told people that you're welcome to start typing and we'll give you a percentage as it sell.
[0:33:05.3] TW: That would be a lifelong job right there.
[0:33:07.6] KM: You're open Tuesday through –
[0:33:09.2] BE: Saturday.
[0:33:10.0] KM: Through Saturdays. You don't open till what time?
[0:33:12.3] BE: 11.
[0:33:12.7] KM: Yeah, you open at 11:00, but you stay open until 7. That's interesting. That's good.
[0:33:17.3] BE: See, people get off work – always figured people got off work at 5:00 and they’d want to stop by and pick some music up after work.
[0:33:23.5] KM: That's right.
[0:33:25.2] BE: We like doing that. There's always happy hour at 5:00.
[0:33:29.2] TW: You're going to sell a lot more product between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. than you would between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. Your hours are perfect.
[0:33:36.5] BE: I know I am.
[0:33:38.4] KM: What do you want your legacy to be?
[0:33:40.8] BE: I guess, what I'm thinking is just that we've contributed to North Little Rock and be able to brought something to Arkansas that there wasn't. That we made a lot of friends. I'm just real thankful that everyone's been so supportive over the years and been blessed that I've been able to stick it out. I always wanted a record store my whole life. I always said if I ever got the chance, I wasn’t going to lose it. The good Lord has seen me through.
[0:34:13.7] KM: You've got a lot of good friends.
[0:34:15.1] BE: Indeed. I do.
[0:34:17.4] KM: What do you plan to do with all your inventory and your memorabilia when you retire? That's what I thought when I walked in there. I thought, “Oh, your poor daughter. What is she going to do?”
[0:34:26.8] BE: I think payloader is what's going to happen. After I can't stand up in there anymore, they're just going to come in with a big shovel and just shovel it all out of there. No, it's been for sale. The store’s been for sale since 1987.
[0:34:41.9] KM: Just the day it opened. Isn't everything for sale for the right price?
[0:34:45.6] BE: We've had a couple of whites, but – I would like to sell it. I mean, I'm 66 now. I mean, I always thought I'd always be there till the end. Now that I've got this new venture, I'd like to spend some time together with her.
[0:35:02.3] KM: It’s beautiful venture.
[0:35:04.2] BE: Yes.
[0:35:04.8] KM: You haven't been married very long then, I guess?
[0:35:06.7] BE: Been three years in January. Been together six years.
[0:35:10.5] TW: Can I bring up something before you close out?
[0:35:12.4] KM: Mm-hmm.
[0:35:12.8] TW: I get to hear this show every single week, because I edit the podcasts and I get to work with everybody at Flag and Banner. One of the things that I hear you talk about in all these interviews, Kerry and it's really true is the self-starting mechanism that entrepreneurs have to have and how they're – I remember specifically recently, you’re talking to somebody who said, “Oh, I've been lucky.” You said, “No, no. You made your own luck.” When those lucky things came along, if you were laying on your couch, you wouldn't be able to take advantage of them.
As long as I've known Bill, I'd never heard the story about working at the carnival. The thing that I think is most interesting about that is how he said it's like the service. You learn to be immediately responsible for what it is you got to get done that day, you got to be there on time, you got to count on other people to do their job, that's the definition of being able to be a responsible dream-come-true making person. He had a dream to have a record store. Put off that background, never would have happened. I kept thinking that as he was telling that story.
[0:36:12.9] KM: Well said, Tom.
[0:36:14.0] BE: Thank you, Tom. We've been friends a long time. It's been great.
[0:36:18.9] KM: Any advice you want to give to young people who are – who want to get in the music business?
[0:36:23.7] BE: Come on down. I got it set up for you. I got records, tapes and I'll be happy to help you get started.
[0:36:31.0] KM: You said that Reed is there now, that you can just go forever. I said when I was down there today, I said – I was looking at all the stuff down there and looking at all that inventory. I turned to Bill and I said, “Bill, you can't possibly make any money down here?”
[0:36:49.5] BE: Yeah. Well, we make enough money to enjoy what we're doing. That's been very good. I've been able to make enough money for that.
[0:36:57.9] TW: If you ask those guys for anything, if you go in there and say you want Dusty Springfields album, or right where it is.
[0:37:06.3] KM: Or rap. Or classical.
[0:37:08.1] TW: It’s unbelievable. Yeah.
[0:37:08.6] KM: It doesn’t matter. Country, whatever. All right, we have a gift for you today. Here's the deal about this gift, I don't know if you're going to really even know what it is, because I asked you earlier about Dreamland Ballroom and you didn't know what it was. I just knew being a music guy, you would know about the Dreamland Ballroom on the third floor of the Arkansas Flag and Banner building. It's where so many great musicians played in the 1940s and 50s. It was on the Chitlin’ Circuit, Duke Ellington, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole.
[0:37:39.2] TW: Louie Armstrong.
[0:37:41.7] KM: Yeah.
[0:37:42.1] BE: You still got the stage there that they played on?
[0:37:43.7] KM: Yes. You have got to come see it.
[0:37:46.4] BE: I’d love to come see it.
[0:37:47.6] KM: You should come to Dancing into Dreamland on November the 15th. That's our big fundraiser. One a year. I got you, because I figured you knew about it. I got you a t-shirt to the Dreamland Ballroom and the Taborian Hall.
All right, so next week we're having a reprise of Bo Renfro's interview and here you go, Bill.
[0:38:05.5] BE: Thank you, ma’am.
[0:38:06.3] KM: You're welcome. You should listen, Bill. He's a rockabilly musician right here in Arkansas. He retired in Heber Springs. He rocks it out. He's a rockabilly guy. It is good stuff.
Thanks again for joining me and my guest. Thanks everybody out there. Thanks for joining and listening to me and my guest today.
[0:38:26.0] BE: Thank you for having me.
[0:38:27.7] KM: I enjoyed it. Tom, thanks for joining us.
[0:38:29.7] TW: You bet. It was fun.
[0:38:30.1] KM: For those listeners who might have a great entrepreneurial story they'd like to share, send a brief bio and your contact info to me, Kerry@flagandbanner.com and someone will be in touch. To all, thank you for spending time with us. We hope you've heard or learned something that's been inspiring or enlightening and that it whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence or your life.
I’m Kerry McCoy and I'll see you next time on Up In your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:38:54.4] GM: You've been listening to Up In your Business with Kerry McCoy. For links to resources you heard discussed on today's show, go to flagandbanner.com, select radio show and choose today's guest. All interviews are recorded and posted the following week. Subscribe to podcasts wherever you like to listen. Kerry’s goal is simple, to help you live the American Dream.