For nearly 20 years, Love Vinyl has been virtually slinging vinyl around the world. At the beginning of 2020, owner Seth Nichols finally set in motion opening up a physical store, with the grand opening set for March. However, a little snag in the form of a global pandemic made that a near-impossible dream. Incredibly, though, not only has Nichols been able to go ahead with the launch, but business is booming.
Inside South Broadway’s FM Clothing, the back wall is lined with records upon records, spanning a massive variety of genres — including arguably the most diverse and expansive collection of electronic music records in Denver. Originally, the plan was to have the shop in its own separate room, but “upon reopening, we did some restructuring of the space and moved the shop to the back of the storefront,” said Nichols. “This gave us room for a wall display and more records on the floor.”
The owner of FM Clothing, Matthew Brown, is a vinyl aficionado himself. Part of Weird Touch — the long-running dance party — Brown has been an active DJ in Denver for years, spinning a fun mixture of new wave, disco and house for the city’s merrymakers at notable spots such as the Roxy and Hudson Hill. Furthermore, the collaboration between Brown and Nichols seemed not only fitting — but fated.
Despite the lack of previously dependable foot traffic in one of Denver’s most bustling neighborhoods, opening a physical location for Nichols’ massive collection of records has still boosted his sales. “Lots of folks are not comfortable with going into retail spaces unless they have to right now — i.e. grocery or other essentials,” Nichols said. Yet the storefront has still helped boost sales, bringing in new customers fairly consistently. Regardless, Nichols is happy with how his business has continued to grow and looks forward to “pushing it further with stock development and curation towards the trends of sales I am seeing thus far.”
“I’m pleasantly surprised by what people are digging out of the shop,” said Nichols. “It’s always cool to see the diversity of musical tastes that people have here in Denver,” adding that the diversity of sound runs deep in Denver and serves as a reflection of the culture of music found in this city. Though Nichols’ personal preferences gravitate towards electronic music, he shared his excitement over the other types of records people pick out, especially some of the obscure rock and jazz releases he brings in. “It’s cool to see people look past the usuals,” he said.
And Brown has his input as well. One section of the wall near the cashier contains shelves full of records curated by Brown himself, including a record from Thieves Like Us, the musical project of Littleton-born and raised Andy Grier.
As Nichols works to continue growing his collection, the physicality of a storefront is a new adventure, as the types of records people buy in person seem to differ, at times, from what is sought out online. The joy of sharing cool music is the biggest pleasure of it all, especially when he’s able to talk to and interact with music fanatics within his local community. “It’s cool to [sell records I like] online, but even cooler when it’s in your own town.”
Love Vinyl’s storefront is inside FM Clothing, located at 55 N Broadway, Denver, CO 80203, and you can also order records online at lovevinylrecords.com.