Small business Monday – Focus on Seasick Records

Need more vinyl for that turntable you got for Christmas?  Of course you do!  Whether it’s vintage or cutting edge new work, you can find it at Seasick Records.  In this week’s edition of Small Business Monday, Dan Drinkard tells us all about his dream to open a record shop coming true right here in the Magic City!

Birmingham AL, records
Dan Drinkard, owner of Seasick Records. Photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now.

I’m Dan Drinkard, owner of Seasick Records, located in the Shoppes of Crestwood at 5508 Crestwood Blvd.

We opened in Avondale in November of 2013, and moved to our current location in June of 2015. We have three employees and other folks who are part of the greater Seasick family that help to do things for us.

records, Birmingham AL
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

Newman’s Cuts also operates out of our shop. Newman and I have known each other for a long time. We met through our bands playing together. He’s from Tupelo, Mississippi, which is not that far from Memphis, so we crossed paths pretty often. It was a hair-brained idea that worked out. They are booked constantly.

Photo via Newman’s Classic Cuts

We carry vinyl, cd’s, vinyl accessories, record players, hats, t-shirts and apparel. We are a Buy-Sell-Trade store and can also give people store credit if they want to get something else.

I moved here from Memphis in April of 2013. I felt like there was a need for another store in town that focused more on newer artists and more independent material. I always wanted to open a record store. There are so many good (record) stores in Memphis that is just never really made sense. When I moved down here, I thought I could make it work and it worked. I just always wanted to open a record store and I just took the opportunity and it worked.

records, Birmingham AL
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

Our hottest item is vinyl. We sell a lot of rock, but also sell a lot of hip-hop, jazz, blues, soul, metal, world music including salsa and merengue. The rarest album we’ve had was a copy of a certain pressing of Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon that we sold for $600. That’s never happened before or since. They made maybe 3-5,000 of those and it was in mint condition.

records, Birmingham AL
Photo via Seasick Records, on the occasion of Record Day, 2017.

We search out collections from people and a lot of times people will contact us. They will either bring stuff in or we’ll go to their house. Lately, I’ve looked through some really big collections like two thousand-plus records. We normally don’t get it all, but we find some good stuff that way.

records, Birmingham AL
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

We do shows, but not that much. I don’t want to take away from places like Saturn and Syndicate Lounge that are actually venues, so what we sometimes do is in-store performances during normal store hours. We also do release shows like this past Friday, we had a release party for the Nowhere Squares’ first full-length LP on vinyl in their twenty-year history. At six we played the record and then at seven, they played.

records, Birmingham AL
The Nowhere Squares. Photo via Seasick Records.

We do mostly free performances or benefits. We have several benefits coming up, including one on March 4th for the employees of Satellite to help make up some of the wages they lost when they were closed after the recent fire. We and Crestwood Coffee will be taking donations for them. Wednesday, the 28th, we’re hosting a band called Tiger’s Jaw. They are playing a show at Saturn on March 1. They have a cover band that does stuff like Weezer and Nirvana covers. They are going to play here on Wednesday, the 28th. Our buddy, Luke, who’s from here, plays bass in that band. We’re giving all of the proceeds from that show to Birmingham Aids Outreach. We try to do as much as we can for the community.

records, Birmingham AL
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

The great part about a business owner is that I make the decisions, which is good and bad sometimes. I like being able to create a place that not only I would like to spend time in but that I think other people would like to spend time in. So, being able to curate that, getting to listen to music all day and talk to people about that music, that’s all I’ve ever wanted in life. It’s awesome! The hard part is all of the business stuff. I don’t have a business degree. That stuff has been a really big learning curve for me because that’s just stuff you don’t know about unless you’ve done it. I had to start figuring out all of the taxes, it was such a headache. I had to hire someone else to do it for me.

records, Birmingham AL
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

As someone who had no knowledge of how sales tax works, they don’t really explain that to you. You just have to figure it out, so I tried for awhile and wound up paying a lot of money in fees until I finally bit the bullet and hired an accountant to do it for me. When dealing with the city, if you have a question, it’s just hard to find the answer or who to talk to about the answer.

records, Birmingham AL
photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

Birmingham is in a pretty good spot right now. There’s a lot of awesome things going on right now and I don’t see that stopping. Obviously we’re in a cool spot. I hope that there are developments in other parts of town that need it more. We need improvements like in public transportation. All those things take time, but hopefully other neighborhoods will be on the up and up soon. I think Norwood and that area around Top Golf is the next area to have an influx of development.

For more information, check out https://www.facebook.com/Seasickbham

Another cool business in the area:  https://bhamnow.com/2017/11/13/small-business-monday-focus-55th-place-thrift-store/