On a break from hanging lights outside the new Pinellas Park location of the Sound Exchange, Ron Stoy gestured to the record shop's uncharacteristically bare walls.
"We're at the underwear phase," the chain's owner said. "We won't get arrested for indecent exposure, but we're not fully clothed, either."
At least they're open. The Tampa-based chain last week opened its newest location at 8625 66th St. N in Pinellas Park, with a grand opening planned for Black Friday.
The new Pinellas Park Sound Exchange represents a relocation, expansion and downsizing all in one. It is a relocation of the Sound Exchange's Brandon shop, which closed in September, and it will eventually absorb the chain's longtime Pinellas Park shop two miles away, on 49th Street N. By March, that shop will close, leaving the Sound Exchange with just two locations, in Tampa and Pinellas Park, but more room and inventory overall.
That's due to the new Pinellas Park store, which currently occupies 4,800 square feet of a 6,400-square-foot former strip mall. The remaining space, encompassing two storefronts, could be sold to similar businesses, like a musical instrument dealer.
The Sound Exchange had hoped to move into its new location by October, but encountered some delays due to Hurricane Irma. Employees have already moved about 35,000 new and used CDs, tapes, vinyl records, books, comics and toys from its Brandon store, and will ultimately stock up to 80,000.
Even as employees in the new store stay busy tacking up vintage posters of Tom Petty, David Bowie and the Beatles, they're already accepting new inventory. The old Pinellas Park store is still open, but not making purchases — its inventory will dwindle until it's closed for good in March, mostly with discount and bargain merchandise.
"We've got another store to put in here," Stoy said, referring to the old Pinellas Park location. "When we do, it'll really be fleshed out."
For info on the new Sound Exchange, call (727) 545-0042, or click here for details.
— Jay Cridlin