PEKIN — While video may have killed the radio star, online music options are killing the brick and mortar music stores. In order to stay relevant and competitive, one Pekin business combines music sales with other merchandise.

Co-op Records is located at 3253 Court St. in Pekin. They are open every day of the week. Their hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Brandon Timian, 45, is the store’s manager and said despite the store name they offer more than records.

They buy, sell and trade CDs, cassette tapes and movies. Co-op also sells incense, apparel, body jewelry, golf discs, video games and vinyl records.

Timian said, “If we only sold music we’d be out of business. We’ve got to be creative. I wish more people brought in used CDs and vinyl rather than throw them away.” 

According to the Nielsen Music-era record high, in 2017 the U.S. saw a 9-percent increase in vinyl album sales from the previous year. It marked the 12th straight year of growth in vinyl album sales. The rock music genre accounted for 67-percent of those sales in 2017.

While vinyl album sales are increasing nationally, Timian said he has not seen a large jump in local sales at Co-op Records. He said he sells a lot of CDs, more used CDs than new ones. Each used CD sells for $4.99 or less.

“We still sell more CDs, but vinyls are picking up,” said Timian. “We’ll special order at no extra cost.”

Because music is available online, brick and mortar stores like Co-op Records are seeing a dip in sales.

In Pekin rock and metal music sells faster at Co-op. Timian said he does not sell a lot of country or rap music although it is available in the store.

Timian himself enjoys rock music from bands like Led Zepplin, White Snake and Dio.

“I like all kinds of music, but rock especially,” he said. “I listen to music from the time I get up until I go to bed. I don’t watch much TV. I’ve always been that way.”

Music has always been part of Timian’s life. He plays guitar and sings. He was 13-years-old when he joined his first band.

Although he has worked other jobs such as owning bars in Morton, working at Caterpillar and working construction, he really likes being around music. It has its challenges, too.

“I’ve liked owning the bars, but it’s tough to have a small business in Illinois,” said Timian. “The best part of working here is the patrons and being able to talk music with them. I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t working here.”

Each Monday he takes inventory to know what to order and checks the special order list for any items requested by customers. He said he has his regulars and that business is fairly steady every day except Tuesday.

Dirk Williams of Pekin has been coming to Co-op Records since they were in their original location which was further west on Court Street. 

“They have this homemade incense which is the biggest thing I come for. They’ve got music and stuff we need,” said Williams. “Shopping local is important. I prefer not to run to East Peoria, Peoria or Bloomington. They’ve got a lot of novelty stuff here you can’t find other places.”

Co-op Records used to have locations in Galesburg and Bloomington, but both locations are closed now. There is one more that is currently open and operated by the same owner in Davenport, Iowa. Timian said people often mistake The CO-OP Shop in East Peoria for being the same store as the one in Pekin. He said they are not part of the same business.