Monday, 01 February 2021 13:53

FRF Spotlight: Retrofit Records on Retail, The Pandemic and How They Have Kept the Beat Going

FEBRUARY 1, 2021
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

In Celebration of Black History Month, the Florida Retail Federation Features Spotlight on Sharod Bines, A Local Black Retail Business Owner

Tallahassee, FL – In honor of Black History Month, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) is highlighting Sharod Bines a local, Tallahassee business owner of Retrofit Records.

A Tallahassee native, Sharod Bines has always been involved and influenced by the arts. Bines grew up listening to records and pursuing his passion, eventually receiving his degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. In 2010, Bines realized he had a real opportunity to establish his own music retail business after a local record store shuttered its doors.

“There was simply nowhere to go," said Bines. "If you wanted to buy a brand-new record, there was literally nowhere in the city to go.”

With no local record store and a dream to open a music venue, Sharod conceptualized with a friend how to fill that niche.

In 2011, they opened Retrofit Records, a music venue by night with a daytime pop-up record shop. Bines was able to sell records and turntables while putting on concerts in Tallahassee and promoting diverse musical acts.

But for Sharod Bines, opening his local retail store was more than just following his passion for music. For him, being a black business owner provides far greater fulfillment. Bines feels proud to display his culture and provide representation in the music industry and among the community.

"For me, growing up, a lot of the music stores and record stores I would go to, I didn’t see any [black] representation," stated Bines. "Ninety percent of the artists in the store may be people of color, but the people that owned the store and sold the music did not represent that."

Bines also revealed that patrons from every demographic support Retrofit Records.

"We cater to a lot of different tastes," said Bines. "Older people, younger people, men and women... We offer a diverse selection of music, to a diverse selection of the Tallahassee community."

In the diversity of his customers, Sharod feels gratified to serve all of the local community.

“Coming up on 10 years, I’m very grateful," as Bines reflected. "It was probably the best decision I’ve made in my life to be my own boss and start an independent business.”

As with many of Florida's retailers and businesses, life changed drastically at the start of last year. The COVID-19 global health pandemic brought many Florida retail stores to a screeching halt. For Retrofit Records, Bines definitely felt that impact.

"When the pandemic was starting to really blow up, one of my concerns was how the summer season was going to look for the shop," recalled Bines.

As people across the state began to spend more time at home and businesses closed down, Retrofit Records could no longer host in-store events. However, Bines was able to safely offer music and records to customers looking for a way to "escape."

After one of Retrofit Record's largest events, National Record Store Day, was postponed and split up into three dates, Sharod was able to create a poster campaign to reflect the tangible value music and records can provide to others.

Bines worked with Max Pepper, a local artist and fellow Tallahassee native, to produce three limited edition posters with the theme "Stay Home & Listen to Records." All three posters sold out immediately.

"Music, I would equate it to a comfort food," Bines explained. "When you’re stressed out or going through something, you can always rely on music or have access to it. I think, especially this last year, that was something that people turned to, to provide some escapism and provide an 'out' when things are very stressful. When you are stuck in your home, you can’t go to shows, you can’t see live music, the next best thing is to get a record, put it on and just enjoy it."

Bines stressed the present importance of consumers to shop local. He reminds others that local, Florida retailers are owned by fellow, local residents of the community.

"We are people who spend our money in the community," noted Bines. "We own homes. We rent homes. We shop at other local businesses. So I think that’s first and foremost something that people have to appreciate."

Bines also touched on an impactful statistic, "Every dollar spent at a local business, approximately 67 cents remains in the community."

As Retrofit Records continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bines has provided customers with safe access while shopping for records, turntables, or other merchandise. Retrofit Records is currently offering curbside pick-up, local delivery and continues to offer shipping and mail order purchases.

Located in the heart of Collegetown, near downtown Tallahassee, Retrofit Records is one of many retail stores in Florida that you can support while you shop local and "Find It In Florida." Visit the website or follow them on Facebook or Instagram for more information.

Last year, the Florida Retail Federation launched the "Find It In Florida" campaign last year to spread public awareness on the importance of shopping locally. When Floridian shoppers "Find It In Florida", they are helping to keep doors open, boost the local economy and support their communities.

Florida's retailers have continued to take proactive measures during the pandemic to provide consumers with safe access to meet their shopping needs, including safely shopping in stores, curbside pickup and online ordering options.

The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.


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