RetroFit Records, Tallahassee’s independent music store
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The world may seem dominated by ever-changing technology, but for Sharod Lee Bines, a Tallahassee native and owner of RetroFit Records, one thing is certain: vinyl will keep rolling.
“I think it’s a sustainable format,” Bines said. “I think that’s been proven, more so than CDs, cassettes, 8 tracks, any other format when it comes to physical formats. I think vinyl has the staying power; it’s been proven over and over again He’s had his ups and downs as far as his popularity goes, but it’s proven to be for a while.”
With record-collecting parents and two older sisters to show him the most contemporary albums, Bines grew up with a passion for music that led him through the doors of Tallahassee independent record store, Vinyl Fever.
He recalled how Vinyl Fever’s department store was often packed and was considered “the place” for music fans.
When Bines found out that Vinyl Fever would close in 2010, Tallahassee would be left with a void.
“It was definitely a loss for the city to not have an independent music store that was just focused on that, so I feel like the community definitely lost when they lost Vinyl Fever,” Bines said. .
In order to fill that void, Bines opened his own store RetroFit Records in 2011, bringing an eclectic collection of music from chart-topping to obscure.
The store has now been around for ten years and has found strong support from the community, from college students just getting into vinyl to long-time collectors looking for their next find.
With just 2,000 independent record stores nationwide, Bines already stood out, but of those, only 30 are owned by people of color.
For this reason, Vans, the world-famous footwear and apparel brand, noticed RetroFit Records while filming a documentary series in late 2020.
Bines was selected as one of only five minority record store business owners to take part in the series.
“I was a little surprised that they wanted to come to Tallahassee from all places,” Bines said. “I was super grateful for the opportunity and it was a really great experience. I wanted to make sure I did my best to represent the store, the city and the culture the best I could.”
This opportunity went beyond being one of the few people of color to operate an independent music store for Bines: it was about representing the music industry as a whole.
“A lot of chart-topping artists are artists of color and sometimes those artists aren’t fully represented in the music industry behind the scenes,” Bines said. “A lot of these artists are on the cutting edge. You go to a lot of music stores, you see their music being sold and a lot of times the people behind the counter don’t look like the music they’re selling, but they’re enjoying it. A little more balance would be appreciated I’m trying to do my part and the other 30 stores are trying to do their part.
What Bines has created with RetroFit Records is a place where music lovers can come together and support artists in an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.
It’s this unique environment and Bines’ pure passion for his work that makes Retrofit Records Totally Tallahassee.
RetroFit Records is located at 439 Gaines St. in Tallahassee.