Now in its eighth year, the ever-growing annual event to promote independent record stores has propelled Gary Scheuenstuhl’s Miller Avenue shop to strong sales, with a few headaches along the way.
Gary Scheuenstuhl is getting ready for one of his busiest days of the year for his Mill Valley Music shop on Miller Avenue. 

But the customer service-minded record store owner is also bracing himself for having to tell his loyal customers the five words he hates to utter: “I ran out of that.”

Record Store Day 2015 – a celebration of independent record stores like Scheuenstuhl’s – is set for Saturday, April 18, and Scheuenstuhl admits he has “a love-hate relationship” with the event that produces one of his best sales days of the year but also has him unable to fulfill some customer requests. 

Record Store Day started as a grassroots campaign in 2007 to support independent record stores that were facing extinction in an increasingly digital music business. The event features hundreds of musicians appearing and performing at independent stores across the country, and issuing special vinyl and CD releases to mark the occasion. It has grown immensely over the years. In 2008, there were 10 special Record Store Day releases. In 2014, there are more than 400 special RSD releases, the list of which fills more than 10 pages, from 311 to Frank Zappa.

With that growth, it’s become harder and harder for shops like Scheuenstuhl’s to get their hands on some of the most limited releases, particularly because the event’s organizers have made many of the releases extremely limited, as few as just a few hundred nationwide. 

“By making these releases so limited, instead of celebrating independent record stores, you’re creating an instant collectible that immediately goes up on eBay,” says Scheuenstuhl, who opened his store after his former boss John Goddard closed his downtown Village Music shop in 2007.

That being said, Scheuenstuhl said Record Store Day remains a great way to celebrate stores like his that are forever trying to retain their longtime customers in a world where Amazon Prime makes anything and everything available at customers’ fingertips with near-instant gratification.

He uses RSD as a way to remind customers about his fantastic inventory, holding a storewide sale – 20 percent off new items and 30 percent off used items that are not RSD-specific releases – to reward those who come to the shop on Saturday.

The 411: Record Store Day 2015 is Saturday, April 18. Mill Valley Music is located at 320 Miller Ave., (415) 389-9090. Click here for more details, and click here for a full list of Record Store Day releases nationwide