Vinyl Fever, Tampa’s Longtime Great Indie Record Store, Is Closing

Vinyl Fever in Tampa is closing in February.

It was perhaps inevitable, as plenty of other indie record stores and bigger music outlets around the country have gone out of business, and even the big-box retail chains, and bookstores like Borders, are shrinking or gutting their CD sections.

But, still … it’s really sad news.

Vinyl Fever could always be counted on as a place that stocked the pop/rock, indie rock, country, folk/country, jazz, blues and world music releases — primarily vinyl at first, when it opened in ’81, then CDs, too — that weren’t available at the other outlets. The store also was known for employing staffers who knew the difference among Radiohead and Portishead and Head East, and for being strongly supportive of local musicians.

I’ve been going to Vinyl Fever for forever, it seems, since back when the store was located on Fletcher Avenue, not so far from the USF campus. I frequented it even more often when it relocated in 1989 to a spot across the street from Plant High School on south Dale Mabry – my neighborhood. Late rock drummer and all-around good guy Jeff Wood worked at the store during that period. The store in 2003 moved to its current location, 4110 Henderson Boulevard, also close to me. I’ve enjoyed talking music with owner/manager Lee Wolfson, and such staffers as Gabe and Carl.

As noted in Wolfson’s press release on the closing, Rolling Stone recently named Vinyl Fever one of the Top 25 record stores in the country.

The store’s final days will be marked by deep discounts and a celebration of the store’s history. “”We want to make this something of a celebration of our life in business here,” Wolfson told the Tampa Tribune’s Curtis Ross for a story published today. “We’re going to have some parties around it, some bands performing at the store and some big sales. We’ll give ourselves a New Orleans-style funeral.”

Coincidentally or not, the FYE Records store at Westshore Mall is also closing, meaning that there will now be NO CD/vinyl stores in south Tampa.

Guess we’re getting closer to the day when there won’t be ANY real “record stores” left open anywhere.

Sorry, kids, but shopping online & downloading will never replace perusing through record and CD bins and bringing home something you can hold in your hands, a physical object featuring art that can be enjoyed as well as music that can be appreciated.




2 thoughts on “Vinyl Fever, Tampa’s Longtime Great Indie Record Store, Is Closing

  1. This just made me tear up.
    How can something so powerful just fade away into the distance. I understand everything changes with time, but EVERYTHING? And so dramatically?
    I cannot sing a tune, play a chord or hum well for that matter. But music has always been a HUGE part in my life. I’m the dorky shmuck that has a running “soundtrack” of my life in my head that is ever morphing except for the those great ones you can never let go of.
    Listening to, reading about, discovering new, my favorite past time…so for me to hear that yet another “real” record store is going under kills me. I have a son who, lucky for me, is highly entertained by music also. Where am I supposed to take him on that amazing day that he’s old enough to buy his own first album?! Online?! Absolutely not in this household if I can ever figure out a way for that to hold true. I have NEVER bought music via iTunes or any other avenue online. I love the case in my hand, looking over the cover art and reading EVERYTHING that is written in its cover while listening to the CD for the first time (once the vinyl started to fade away).
    As cliche’ as it is, the picture of Bruce Springsteen’s behind is forever burned in my head for the simple fact that it was the first album my cousin bought me. How do you replace those memories for the new generation? How do you make sure that they understand where music came from and how absolutely important it has been over the years for so many reasons? How do you make sure that the people that have owned these Record Stores over the years realize what an impact they had on people’s lives. That just because they have to close their doors doesn’t mean EVERYONE has forgotten what they did for us pimply, dorky kids when they introduced us to The Ramones and Jesus and Mary Chain and helped them come into their own?
    I guess I can just hope, that over the years, I said thank you enough times for them to remember.

  2. I’m with you. It’s hard to believe that Vinyl Fever is just going away. I stopped by to pay my final respects on Friday – not much left that day, and it was all very sad.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

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