New store profile: Vinyl Frontier

By Columbus Alive
From the October 4, 2012 edition

One journey in Justin Crockett’s quest to stock his new record store, Vinyl Frontier, led him down a winding road in a quiet patch of countryside, past a graveyard and onto the doorstep of a comely German witch he had found on Craigslist.

She sold two 400-pound gargoyles to Crockett.

“If you want to pick up chicks, walk down Gay Street with a gargoyle,” Crockett laughed.

Hans and Franz, as he later named the concrete creatures, guard the records in his downtown store and set the spooky-but-rad tone for the Vinyl Frontier shopping experience.

“You could get all these records online,” Crockett said, “but that’s not the point.”

The point is to create a destination store. Vinyl Frontier’s décor is based on a short story Crockett wrote about a post-apocalyptic society in which a mysterious DJ starts spinning found records, which acts as an impetus for the city to rebuild.

Vinyl Frontier will be designed to look like the DJ’s lair — chain-link fences hanging from the ceiling, an installation of stacked old TVs playing VHS movies, graffiti covering the wooden handmade carts that hold the records.

“I want to do something creative instead of listening to sirens every day,” Crockett said.

Crockett also works as a fireman and paramedic, jobs that have prepared him, at least in one regard, for the highly ambitious Vinyl Frontier project, which still needs a few more ticks off the to-do list before it lives up to all Crockett’s creative expectations.

“I’m able to look at the big picture. At least my skin’s not burned off of me, at least my kids didn’t die in a car accident,” Crockett said. “We just want to have fun with this.”

The party starts this weekend with a grand opening show featuring live music and 10 percent off most items. Vinyl Frontier will have sections dedicated to local music and art. There will be crates full of records (expect them in the $3 to $10 range, with a hefty roundup of hip-hop and dance records), DJ book bags, retro musical instruments and art and comic books.

Photo by Tim Johnson