Plaid Room Records is the newest record store I’ve been to (I haven’t had a chance to visit the second Black Plastic location yet). It’s located right in the heart of Loveland, OH, home of the great Loveland Bike Trail.
My friend Holly and I took a trip to the store a few months ago after putting it off for far too long, and we immediately began to kick ourselves for not visiting it sooner. I initially noticed that the interior is so bright and colorful and just super welcoming, and it only got better from there.
One of the coolest parts about Plaid Room is that they also put out soul/funk music through the label Colemine Records. Bands perform live in the record store, and the staff records the performances, which are eventually put on wax. It’s beautiful. The layout of the store is beautiful, the equipment is beautiful, Plaid Room rules.
Now, onto the specifics!
Much like Shake It, Plaid Room carries every genre imaginable (and, again, more, hehe). Each time I’ve gone visited Plaid Room, I’ve found something way too cool and obscure to pass up – though I’m always limited monetarily, which is a constant problem. 😦
Plaid Room has a great mailing list system where they’ll email/call you if anything happens to come in from an artist that you’re looking for. So when I went in, I went ahead and gave them my email address to email me when any Otis Redding vinyl happened to show up. Sure enough, I received an email about used Otis records probably a week later. This is a feature I’ve always wanted to see in a record store because it gives everyone a fair chance of finding what they’re looking for, should they take the time to sign up for the list (which takes about two seconds).
In the store itself, Plaid Room has a seemingly infinite number of records to flip through. I’m not sure I’ve gone through every shelf, partially for fear of spending way too much money. Whether it’s because they’re newer and wanted to start out with an incredibly strong collection or because the staff are truly that knowledgable (or resourceful) about music, Plaid Room has a perfect selection.
Their hip-hop section is to die for, and Holly and I both had to put so many records back from the section that we can never find anywhere else.
Not only does Plaid Room have an incredible selection, their prices are wonderful. They never overcharge for any record, and their used vinyl is very fairly priced. Other stores seem to get away with pricing some things higher (sometimes ridiculously so), knowing that they’ll sell for any price, but Plaid Room doesn’t fall victim to this whatsoever.
The staff at Plaid Room make the store, really. The owners are also the employees, and it’s easy to tell that they absolutely love what they do. The best part is that it’s so clear that they’re the best of friends; they’re always joking around, both with the customers and with one another. It makes the store so welcoming, and it makes you want to spend as long as you can browsing around.
There’s absolutely no sense that you’re intruding or that you aren’t as knowledgable as the staff. I bought Deafheaven’s album Sunbather from there and the staff and I talked about it, as they hadn’t listened to it yet. That’s one of the best feelings: getting someone to listen to an album you love, and then seeing what they think. It doesn’t matter if they love it or hate it; the discussion is always great.
The first time I went to Plaid Room, the staff joked around about being able to listen to all of the albums on Youtube, and they jokingly decided on just selling cards with links on them instead of records, and it’s that kind of instant familiarity/confidence that makes them so wonderful. They’re always very kind and helpful and I look forward to seeing them each visit.
So, Plaid Room gets an instant 5/5 for being so close to the Loveland Bike Trail. As someone who loves riding bikes as much as possible, having a record store right next to one of the best bike trails is just too good to be true. But it’s super true, and it’s super cool.
For me, it’s a trip to get out to Loveland, as it’s not a quick bus ride away or anything, how getting to Northside is. But the area is also a perfect choice for that reason; there aren’t many options in Loveland as far as record shopping goes, and it makes it much more exciting to go there (at least for me). It’s excellent that the option’s there should anyone be in Loveland for the bike trail/visiting family/the many food options there.
The area is also just beautiful; the scenery and everything is great. And the bike trail.
OVERALL SCORE: 5/5!!!!!!!!! PLAID ROOM RULES!!!!!!!!!!