Dust off the vinyl player




By Kaitlyn Skovran

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From the Replacements and Katy Perry to local Lexington artists, CD Central has it all.

One of their biggest days of the year, Record Store Day, usually in April, is an occasion not to be missed. But regardless of the time of year, the store has limited edition releases, parking lot sales and concerts.

“Come here, have fun and make a celebration of it,” said Steve Baron, owner of CD Central.

Chris Stapleton, who has recently risen to fame, played a concert for a packed store just months prior. The Black Keys also stopped to play a gig before their big break as well.

“It’s really cool, you almost feel like you’re a part of their success,” Baron said.

CD Central’s conception began back in 1995, while a younger Steve Baron was working for UK. He wanted to start a business where he could be his own boss. Baron was interested in music and decided to corner the used CD market.

“Nobody in Lexington was really serving that niche very well and I thought we could do a better job at it,” Baron said. “Independent businesses in general face a lot of challenges.”

He is a founding member of AIMS, the Alliance of Independent Media Stores, an organization that helps small music stores compete with big chain stores like Best Buy. Baron said they’re trying to help level the playing field against companies with multi-million dollar budgets for advertising by getting small companies out there.

CD Central also allows people to learn more about how the music industry works.

“That’s all I really wanted to do, be involved with music one way or another,” said James Toth, a two-year veteran employee of CD Central.

Part of the job is to engage everyone and give out music recommendations. Some of the staff selections include The Black Lips and Richard Buckner. While one person might be versed in hip-hop and country, another might know more about alternative and techno.

“I really like that part of the job when people come up and ask for suggestions,” Toth said.

In an era of downloading music and iTunes, Baron does what he can.

When CD Central first opened, downloading music wasn’t an issue. As time goes on, developments in technology make it harder for small stores to compete.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” Baron said. “We do the best job we can of serving customers who still prefer to buy physical media.”