Scooter's Records celebrates one-year anniversary

Scooter's Records owner Scott Thomas, left, and employee Venny Brocato take a break behind the counter at the store. (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

Staff Writer

Scott Thomas, owner of Scooter’s Records in Starkville, will celebrate his one-year anniversary of the “old-school” record store Thursday, Nov. 15.

“I always wanted to open up a record store, ever since I was a kid and whenever I got done with school out here in like ‘90, that’s what I was wanting to do but that’s when records had kind of gone away,” Thomas said.

About three years ago he saw that he was reaching his 28th year working for the city of Starkville and decided to make a move toward opening his own record store.

He felt this was a niche that the city was missing.

“I always had the record store thing in the back of my mind,” he said.

He questioned whether or not his record store would thrive in Starkville, but his involvement with the Greater Good Collective and Sunday Funday gave him the boost of confidence that he needed when selling records at the event became a big success.

He rolled the dice and hasn’t regret it.

“The first time that I ever set up and sold records was at the Old Main Festival on campus two years ago,” Thomas said.

Thomas is originally from Jackson, went to school in Louisville, but claims Starkville as his home.

Owning a business has its challenges but Thomas said he loves it.

“Where I am, my location is sort of on the edge of the Cotton District so it’s in a weird location but it’s really good in some aspects,” he said.

There’s a lot of walking traffic that goes by as he plays music in the parking lot from speakers, which provides a sense of atmosphere for those walking by.

“Going into this I knew I could make a go of it but it has definitely done better from day one than what I expected,” Thomas said.

Every day that the store seems dull he reminds himself that Scooter’s Records is doing well.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m very very blessed that I’m able to do it and doing it at a young enough age that I can still enjoy it,” he said.

Since the beginning, business has progressed and picked up over the year.

“I plan on being there as long as its doing well,” he said.

Thomas is a musician and plays the drums. He has always had a passion for music.

“The kind of bands that I’ve been in or listened to have gravitated to my choice of music,” he said.

His aunt ran a record store in Hattisburg when he was a kid, which also served as an inspiration.

“She turned me on to Elton John and that kind of thing and a lot of the records that I got whenever I was little was stuff that she gave me,” Thomas said.

The first record that he ever bought with his own money was the Kinks record that he bought at a garage sale.

“I’m really more into the stuff that really really moves me is still like the 60s and 70s classic rock stuff. I’m a big Zeppelin fan, I’m a Beatles fan, I’m a Kinks fan but there’s a lot of stuff that came out in the early 90s that I’m also a big fan of,” he said.

Thomas mentioned Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains and the Soundgarden that gave him a grunge feel.

“That was happening whenever I was getting out of college so that was the age that there was a lot of new stuff that was coming out that would stick with me for the rest of my life,” Thomas said.

He knows that his taste in music and local college students may not mesh so he caters to their record preferences as well by keeping popular records among their age group.

“There’s bands like Panic at the Disco and Imagine Dragons, and Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar - I can’t keep those in the store,” he said.

“I sell them and sell them and sell them,” he added.

Thomas says used records is what’s keeping the store going, but customers are surprised at the amount of new records that he has, including the variety.

Many of his regular customers come in once a week to shop and prop up at the counter to talk about music for hours.

“I think that’s one ofthe reasons why this is the business that I was made for because I have a pretty fair knowledge of music and I like talking about it,” Thomas said.

Customers even come from Tupelo to shop.

His model of the store came from what he envisioned as his ideal record store as a kid.

A disadvantage of his business is that Starkville is a ‘college town’ but also a retirement community, and residents don’t visit the Cotton District as much as they used to.

“Maybe if we could redefine that area as Midtown, that would be awesome,” he said.

In the future he wants to evolve the music scene in Starkville by working with music venues in and out of town by doing cross promotions, and possibly have acoustic acts inside the store.

He does some promoting for artists now by posting their posters and flyers in the store, and is trying to reach out to collaborate with the Bancorp South Arena with its concerts.

“I’d love to be involved in doing a little bit more of that kind of thing,” Thomas said.

Besides that he hopes to bring more recognition and awareness to the fact that he does have a record store on University Drive in Starkville.

As of now through the end of the year, Scooter’s Records is giving away a portable turntable each week for those who stop by and enter the drawing.

The portable turntables are a great start for someone who loves music and records but don’t have the money to afford one.

Thomas said that they’re great for college students and they are easy to pick up and take to a friend’s house.

He also has gift cards, posters, CDs, used and new records.

“My plan is to be here 10 more years and see what happens after that,” Thomas said.

Scooter’s Records is located at 519 University Drive.