Brooks Smothers (left) and Ryan Taylor of Upper Left Records hold a handful of albums they will be selling, featuring local musicians from Everett to Stanwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Brooks Smothers (left) and Ryan Taylor of Upper Left Records hold a handful of albums they will be selling, featuring local musicians from Everett to Stanwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Pop into this Everett pop-up store for new vinyl records

Upper Left Records will offer albums from local bands and new pressings of classic recordings.

EVERETT — Success for Ryan Taylor and Brooks Smothers would mean a six-foot folding table and, if sales really take off, an eight-footer.

The two partners recently launched Upper Left Records, a pop-up store that sells new vinyl records.

“Our store is a four-foot table. We’re just going to be a little pop-up table,” Smothers said.

“We’re starting small, but our goal is to grow to a six-foot and then an eight-foot table,” Smothers said.

The two friends, who share a love of music, were camping with their families in June. Over a campfire, they began musing about how rare it is to find places in Everett that sell new records.

“I said, ‘Let’s do a little research and see if this is viable,’” Smothers said.

What they found is that recent music industry studies suggest that vinyl records are having a resurgence.

Although streaming services account for 80% of music sales, record album sales topped 1.2 million in the week ending December 26, the highest number since Nielsen Music, a market research group, began following weekly sales in 1991, according to online magazine Mental Floss.

“For the first time since the 1990s record sales are on track to outpace CD sales,” Taylor said.

The forecast reverberated.

“We are two guys who like vinyl records and we saw a need in our community,” Smothers said. “We decided to give it a go.”

Since then, they’ve drawn up a business plan for their part-time venture and begun working on inventory.

“We decided to forgo a brick-and-mortar space,” Taylor said. “When we asked ourselves what can we can do to generate business and have a deep connection with the city, the answer was to partner with local businesses to host a pop-up store.”

When things get rolling — their first pop-up event will coincide with National Record Store Day on Aug. 29 — they’ll stock albums from Snohomish County bands, including Oliver Elf Army (Everett), Fretland (Snohomish), Tellers (Everett), Now and Not Yet (Everett), The Lowdown Drifters (Stanwood) and The Moondoggies (Everett).

They will also offer reissues of classic recordings of artists such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Patsy Cline from Detroit’s Third Man Pressing, along with new titles from Sub Pop Records, a Pacific Northwest label that made its mark with grunge bands, signing Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney in the late 1980s.

Smothers and Taylor are banking on two groups to boost sales: the over-40 crowd that grew up with records, and the younger generation of Millennials and Gen Z’s that have discovered the pleasures of vinyl and full-scale album art.

“I’m a remote worker,” said Taylor. “I listen to digital music all day. But vinyl is really special. When I put my records on, I’m sitting down and reading the liner notes and enjoying the amazing art.”

They won’t sell turntables, but Taylor or Smothers can suggest a couple models and brands.

Oh, and the name Upper Left Records?

“That is a nod to our physical geography,” Smothers said. “We live in the upper left corner of the United States.”

Janice Podsada;; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

More information

Upper Left Records’ first pop-up appearance will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 29 at Toggles Bottle Shop, 1420 Hewitt Ave., Everett.

A second pop-up event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 30 at Narrative Coffee, 2927 Wetmore Ave., Everett.

Follow them on Instagram @UpperLeftRecords and Twitter: @RecordsLeft.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

‘Better with Boeing’ campaign aims to keep 787 assembly here

A new marketing effort hopes to persuade the company to keep Dreamliner work in Everett.

Panel blasts Boeing, FAA for ‘horrific culmination’ of failures

Investigators found that the company had a financial incentive to avoid more pilot training.

Port again wins millions in grant money for mill site revamp

The Port of Everett successfully reapplied for federal funding after losing $15.5 million last year.

Marysville offers another round of CARES Act grants

Funds are available for those who need help paying for housing or business expenses amid COVID-19.

Commentary: The 737 Max debacle won’t be the end of Boeing

The plane may actually be the bright spot in Boeing’s airliners business.

737 Max engineer didn’t know details of flight control system

The program’s leaders only assumed pilots would react differently to the triggering of the MCAS.

Everett company faces $230,000 fine for safety violations

State inspectors allege that Chilos Builders exposed workers to hazards at area construction sites.

Unemployment system overwhelmed by users and new claims

The state Employment Security Department couldn’t process all the new information, leaving users frustrated.

Boeing 737 Max moves another step closer to returning

Test flights were performed from Vancouver to get around coronavirus-related U.S. travel curbs.

Light rail’s Lynnwood Link inches forward, with massive beams

The massive columns and girders that will hold the track are popping up along I-5.

What slowdown? Amazon seeks to hire 33,000 people

It’s the largest number of job openings Amazon has had at one time.

Boeing finds new problem with 787 that will delay deliveries

The company also released data showing the tally of lost 737 Max orders this year is now approaching 1,000.