Profiles of Innovation
Cactus Music embraces the vinyl: Turning to the past helps iconic store record anew future
"In my mind, an entrepreneur would be someone that is able to recognize that there's a need for something," says Quinn Bishop, manager of Houston music mecca Cactus Music.
Bishop has worked at Cactus for 25 years, since it was owned by the Daily family and before it tragically — but temporarily — shut its doors in March of 2006.
Cactus was revived in 2007, thanks to what Bishop calls a great group of "well-heeled, very Houston-centric" customers who couldn't bear to see the place go.
"I think the secret is having all those little niche-y, genre-specific customers that come to your store feel like, well, this store is the jazz store, this store's the Americana store, this store's the indie rock store," Bishop says. "I think we're kind of the all things to all people store."
It's Cactus Music's ability to cater to a certain kind of customer that's ensured its long-term success, along with its frequent free music events, community atmosphere and commitment to vinyl, which makes up 35 percent of Cactus' business.
"Our customers all have a bookshelf mentality, whether it's books or LPs," Bishop says. "For the millennials, the kids that are in their late teens to mid-20s, they really think that vinyl defines them. It's not nostalgia. It's not retro; it's theirs."
In the digital era, Bishop credits the in-store experience Cactus provides customers with its continued success.
"You know, I think there's room for one great record store in every major city, and Houston is fortunate — there are a bunch of little niche-y stores and then there's us."