Nestled behind Standard Salon, Republic of Athens Records, or ROAR, located at 79 ½ E. State St., is easy to miss by outsiders. Nevertheless, Athens locals know this small business is one of the many gems the city has to offer.
What started as a pop-up shop in a bookstore is now a must-go for vinyl and record lovers. In light of ROAR’s success, the store participated in Record Store Day.
According to Record Store Day, the holiday began in 2008. The idea originated in 2007 from record store owners who wanted to provide an opportunity to celebrate the unique, eclectic style that encapsulates independent record store culture.
Since it was ROAR’s first Record Store Day with a storefront, the business hosted a variety of events leading up to the special day: Saturday, April 23. On Thursday, ROAR sponsored the ACRN show and Friday they organized a movie showing at the Athena Cinema.
ROAR selected the natural choice, Empire Records, for their Friday movie night. The cult-classic film centers around a local record store and the quirky teenagers that work there. Released in 1995, the movie attracted OU and Athens locals alike.
The main event, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, kicked off with a coveted selection of big names and was witness to a line of patrons out the door. The day included a strict one copy per title, per customer limit in anticipation of the flood of record enthusiasts coming to celebrate the new selection.
Michael Wood, the owner of the store, was excited about starting the day as well as the records they had to offer.
“It’s definitely a milestone to be able to offer all the titles,” Wood said. “The selection is incredible and we’re pretty happy about that.”
In addition to offering a variety of titles to regulars, Wood was also delighted to see some new faces walk through the door.
“There are definitely people that will come in that have never been in our store,” Wood said.
Although she has shopped at ROAR before, Tiana Hough, a graduate student studying art history, was drawn in once again to check out what was being sold.
“I’ve come here a couple times before but I was interested in Record Store Day,” Hough said.
Another customer, Joseph Derkin, a graduate student studying business, was pleased by all of the options, as well as the variety of genres to choose from.
“I like it,” Derkin said. “I don’t usually get too much into the Record Store Day special releases, but I thought that there’s a bunch of cool stuff.”
Derkin had been in the store a week prior and was amazed by all the new supply•. He enjoyed the accessibility of all the records as well as the selection.
“I think the beauty of this store is you can check out everything if you have 20 minutes,” Derkin said. “He (Wood) keeps it stocked really, really well and I’ve seen a lot of new things.”
According to Wood, ROAR has many exciting events and projects coming up in the future•. He and his team are looking forward to extending their reach and presence in Athens and beyond.
“I feel like if we can do things to amplify what's already going on or grow the ecosystem, that’s what success looks like,” Wood said.