While record stores across Boston and the United States stocked shelves with brand new, limited-edition vinyl LPs released exclusively for Record Store Day Saturday, Skippy White’s Records just went about business as usual. Cardboard boxes overstuffed with used records, cassettes and CDs inundate the small Roxbury-based store, where one would struggle seeking any albums released for Record Store Day because, well, there are none.
While a 90s-era CD listening station collects visible layers of dust, shelves of records stack neatly along the walls. Skippy White’s is, and will always be, about vinyl. Skippy’s may have been listed among the participating Mass. stores for Record Store Day, but really only because they celebrate it year-round.
“Every day is Record Store Day here,” says owner Skippy White.
In business for over 51 years and eschewing an official website in favor of a simple Facebook page and traditional marketing like word-of-mouth, Skippy White’s has survived several eras of music technology that have long sworn to spell the end for vinyl.
Yet, when people in the area seek a hard-to-find R&B, gospel, soul, blues or jazz record, Skippy is who they visit.
“We do have a niche,” White says of the community of record owners and collectors that treat Record Store Day like a national holiday. None of the countless Record Store Day releases have ever found their way to Skippy’s mainly because White feels they are “overpriced” and “all rock music,” at least compared to the more rare, and in some cases obscure, records that the store boasts.
Looking for special Record Store Day releases by Paul McCartney, David Bowie or Bruce Springsteen? Skippy’s won’t have it, but if you seek a hard-to-find vinyl from Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, James Brown, or any artist within their niche, you could be stumbling onto a goldmine. It’s that mystery and excitement of searching for something special that keeps people coming back.
Skippy White’s has long proven invincible to new music technology, and doesn’t need just one day out of the year to prove it.