Despite a longtime location in a nondescript strip center on Veterans Memorial Drive, Vinal Edge has built up a steady, dedicated clientele during its 27 years in business.
Owner Chuck Roast, who got his start selling records at punk rock shows in the 1980s, grew that store into a haven for fans of underground music and vinyl collectors of all persuasions. But he has known for more than five years that a move from outside-the-loop to the bustling Houston Heights was imminent.
It took years of scouting and hunting, detouring along desirable thoroughfares on every occasion, calling the numbers on innumerable "For Lease" signs until he found the right one: A home at 239 West 19th Street, in a storefront once occupied by a bead shop.
The new space is an increase in square footage, but even after culling the Reader's Digest box sets and random old LPs, Roast still has a double-bay garage full of excess stock, stacked several-moving-boxes high — records that he must finally confront after more than two decades of accumulation.
"We tend to buy more than most stores," Roast explained to CultureMap.
That's how they end up with the real gems that have made Vinal Edge the go-to source for underground rap and hip-hop recordings, with the best collection of experimental, avant-garde and world music records in the city.
Owner Chuck Roast got his start selling records at punk rock shows in the 1980s and grew that store into a haven for fans of underground music and vinyl collectors of all persuasions.
After a soft opening last Saturday, the team has taken this week to slowly settle in. On Thursday morning, a handful of customers thumbed through racks of new and used records, alphabetized by genre. Roast stepped away several times to field calls from customers interested in selling off old record collections to the store.
"This is a great place for us," said Roast — on a walkable, shopping-oriented street, in close proximity to blues and jazz collectors to the north, former punks and hippies in the Heights, a young indie rock crowd in Montrose. Not too close to the pocket of record stores that line Richmond, and not too similar in inventory to the newly-opened Heights Vinyl.
Roast envisions frequent in-store performances and experimental music nights, bringing people to the store and the surrounding businesses after normal shopping hours.
"Hopefully we're going to invigorate things here," he said.
That will start with a grand opening party at 7 p.m. on Saturday, with live music by Hamamatsu Tom & The Kroger Sushi River Band, giveaways, BYOB and a cache of rare 7" records from Roast's personal collection. Check out the Facebook invite for more details.
Vinal Edge is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.