Looking for a fun place to check out in Northeast Ohio? Olivia, a local high school student, recently checked out K&M Records in Ravenna and took a few pictures. This is what she had to say.
It seems that people are listening to those old records more and more often everyday. I think it’s the charm of hearing those tiny crackles mixed throughout the song (Or that a record’s only weakness is really water, heat, and messy needles). And as long as you don’t 1) Go swimming with said record 2) Leave it on your car’s passenger seat while on a family trip to Nevada and 3) Give the record a tattoo, you should be good and set. For me, I think there’s nothing more relaxing than putting on an LP or even putting it on the turntable just as background sound while doing homework or chores . From easy listening to rock n’ roll, there’s no doubt that vinyls are selling greater now than the past 22 years . The vast record store, K&M Records is a great place to add to a record collection or even start your own.
A store spread throughout 3, once-separated, shops is currently the largest record store in it’s area and attracts music lovers of all kinds from anywhere from minutes down the road to hours away. So naturally, I found it completely necessary to not only visit it but attempt to go through every last record there. And I did mean Every. Last. Record. Well, that was before I realized that I would probably have to live there for a month or two before even getting close to that goal. As I walked in, I see walls and cases of movies, collectibles, and CD’s. But let me tell you, don’t let the first room make it seem like there aren’t any records. Because you turn the corner and Bam! You’re in a room that looks like American Bandstand retired there. And I mean that in the best way possible. As I’m still recovering from the satisfaction of the many, many crates of music, I get life altering news. Apparently the owner of K&M Records, Tom Straw, has yet another room where he keeps 45’s exclusively- over 40,000 out of print records including promos. For a person like me, who usually just hunts swap meets for cool records, this store is heavenly. Straw did mention a fun fact to me though, he said he started with one single box of records that he bought for a few bucks that really encouraged him to start a business; Originally as a side business at a swap meet, to now, a full time job in downtown Ravenna, Ohio. He also added “…if it wasn’t for that box of records, I wouldn’t have all this.” He also dubbed records in general as “an escape”; I found that incredibly endearing. But his passions exceed pass records and he sells other types music and items. Though the main attraction to me is the abundance of records, K&M Records sells anything from record supplies (needles, slips, etc.) to movies, collectibles, CD’s, and computer games.
Personally, I would bet the farm that you’d find at the very least, one artist you like considering that the odds are in your favor. They not only carry every genre that I can think of, (and even one or two that I’ve never heard of in my life) they also have a widespread collection of a little band called The Beatles and even Elvis Presley. So even if for some strange reason you can not, for the life of you, find an artist you like; c’mon, who doesn’t love The Beatles. Though I strongly believe there’s no reason you can’t find an older artist that you like to listen to, and each crate is labeled with either the genre or letters representing the artist’s name, so it should be decently easy to find what you’re looking for. K&M has anything from easy listening to rock n’ roll; from anything from the 40’s and possibly before, but also music of today’s standard. Anywhere from Rock n’ Roll legends like Buddy Holly to the Teen Idols like Frankie Avalon and Fabian; to Doo Wop stars like Dion and the Belmonts or even that smooth sound of Bobby Darin or Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra.
I’m not here trying to sell anything or have personal gain, but if you truly are a fan of that retro sound or just different types of music, you need to check this place out. People more often will buy records via eBay or another online site from someone who is just cleaning out their parents’ basement, which then you really lose that connection between people who have that common interest that you have. Tom Straw told me not only about the history behind his way to business, but also history behind different artists and record labels. Quite honestly, you can’t get that kind of interaction through the internet. K&M Records has that rare feature about it, it sells all types of music that fits anyone’s “taste” and I sincerely wish this ‘home grown’ business only the best of luck. As Buddy Holly’s song Oh, Boy! goes, “(…) you don’t know what you’ve been missing, Oh Boy!”