Alright. We get it. Using words like best, most, and top secret to describe something makes us seem like we’re exaggerating at best and assholes at worst. Especially when talking about vinyl . . . the world’s most overrated and pretentious thing for all the “cool kids” to be into.
It’s also complicated because most true vinyl lovers collect their secret vinyl spots and keep them to themselves like they collect rare pressings of live shows from the 60s. So we’re sort of torn. We have found the best record “store” we have ever been to, in the most unexpected and unassuming place, and yet . . . we don’t really want to share the spot with anyone.
But alas, the place is too great and the collection too good not to share.
So here’s the big reveal, it’s in the Georgia Mountain Market in Clayton Georgia. We should be really up front though, the Georgia Mountain Market is an odd place. It’s first and foremost a flea market. Not that there is anything wrong with that. And in fact, we actually love flea markets. Oftentimes they’re way better than antique shops where everything has already been picked, dusted off, and marked up.
But the Georgia Mountain Market is a little different. There are some great booths and vendors in there. But there are also a lot that offer surplus goods, homemade food, and other yard sale type stuff. I understand the definition of a flea market but it sometimes feels more like a Big Lots that went out of business than a flea market. There are also a few spots that are really big into Confederate memorabilia which we’re not exactly fans of.
But the truth is, even if you just walk in and go directly to Eric’s Records, you’ll easily be able to kill an hour just looking through their 20,000+ vinyl collection. He has the deepest, most well rounded collection of LPs and 33s that I have ever seen. I have been to many great record stores in my day and have even been to many that always end up on Best Record Store lists. But Eric’s collection is so good and so deep and so diverse, that we have yet to find anything quite like it. Even better, the prices are completely reasonable. The guy who is typically running it (always forget his name) gives you nice discounts the more you buy and if you’re a repeat customer. He also always offer this information about discounts without you having to ask.
I have no doubt they make money, but the whole thing feels more like it’s somebody’s personal collection and they’ve just got it set up as a big listening party for strangers to come by and listen to. They keep music playing on an old turntable and the “set list” and their tastes are always impeccable.
The only thing they don’t have is newer pressings. But if music pre-2000 is your thing, you’ve come to the right place.
Their strongest category is classic rock. Whereas most record stores only carry 1-2 copies of an album (and all at the same price), these guys carry multiple versions of each album and they almost always reflect a good, better, best quality when it comes to the sleeve, vinyl, and condition of the album. This is good news as it means that they usually have the same album at multiple price points.
While this place is definitely not your stereotypical “record store”, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better and more diverse collection with such good prices. Next time you’re in Clayton, make sure you stop by and take a look. And be sure to bring lots of money so you can check things off your wish list.