Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Black Friday’ of vinyl record sales brings out collectors, resellers to benefit Spokane Public Radio

Music fans search high and low for pop and rock vinyl records Saturday during the KPBX Record Sale at the Spokane Valley Event Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Cory McIntire calls himself a true collector of records.

He grew up in Spokane and began collecting records when he was 14. Now at age 49, his collection totals about 8,000 or 9,000 records, he said.

He was the first person in line at Spokane Public Radio’s annual record sale on Saturday at the Spokane Valley Events Center, 10514 E. Sprague Ave. The radio station sells thousands of donated vinyls, CDs, DVDs, electronics and more every year to raise money for the station. Each vinyl costs $3, admission is free and the sale continues through Sunday.

In line behind McIntire stood Rob and Penny Byrd, a couple from Bend, Oregon, who traveled to Spokane Valley just for the sale. The duo travel around the Northwest to record sales to get bargains and then sell them on eBay, said Penny.

About 300 people flooded the event space Saturday to rifle through records and find vinyl treasures. Packed shoulder to shoulder, people fingered through albums in a near panic while others crouched underneath them to look at records in boxes on the ground.

“It’s kind of like Black Friday,” McIntire said. “Everybody is cutthroat.”

The song playing through the speakers at the event’s opening, chosen by DJ Kevin Brown, was a funky, upbeat jazz version of the “2001: A Space Odyssey” theme song by Deodato that he picked to match the mood in the room.

“This song is the right level of intensity to pump people up,” he said with a grin. “It makes you think that something is about to happen.”

McIntire, a window washer in Spokane, said he comes to the sale every year, and from what he has seen, more people are showing up to records sales.

But he said he doesn’t like how the record culture has evolved.

“Sixty to 70 percent of the people here are going to resell them,” he said. “It makes it hard for collectors. It pulls away from the thrill of the hunt.”

One of McIntire’s methods is to hang around the restock table because people tend to hoard more records than they want, then go into a corner after the rush has died down and remove the ones that they don’t want on a second glance. Those are the ones that McIntyre looks for so he can stay out of the clambering crowds.

Meanwhile, the Byrds grabbed more than 50 records and stuffed them into wheeled plastic carts, soon to be posted for sale on eBay.

The sale boasts 400 boxes of vinyl records and draws more than 100 volunteers said Kathy Sackett, events director for Spokane Public Radio. She said every dollar raised goes toward the station, but she wouldn’t say how much the event has raised in years past.

The event started in 1991 at Spokane REI on the second floor. It moved a few times over the years to places including the Spokane Masonic Temple, and three years ago it moved to the Spokane Valley Event Center, Sackett said.

In September, Spokane Public Radio held a donation day so people could drop off records in nicer weather, she said, and in February they hosted a second donation day.

Sackett said the event is gaining momentum – drawing more record donations and seeing more people visit the sale.

“It’s an incredible outpouring,” she said.

The Spokesman-Review is a sponsor of the event.