Lavender Vinyl, located in the Historic 25th Street neighborhood in Ogden, houses an eclectic and well-rounded mix of vinyl records in many different genres, and has already made an impact on Ogden’s music scene despite having only been in business for less than a year. “[The first eight months] have exceeded my expectations,” says co-owner Kylee Hallows. “I felt that there was a need for [Lavender Vinyl], and felt that we were the right people to do it, but the community has just gobbled us up—they’re supporting us so much.” Along with co-owner Blake Lundell, the two run the shop with the community in mind, often collaborating with different local businesses to bring about a sense of unity in Ogden.
For Hallows and Lundell, the name Lavender Vinyl serves a similar purpose, drawing a parallel between the serenity that comes with music and the calming effect of lavender. It also plays into the notion that lavender, a crop that thrives in Utah, can mean that the independent, local record store can flourish in Utah’s environment. As one of the only independent music stores in Ogden, Lavender Vinyl is serving a long-standing need for a record-specific shop that specializes in many different kinds of music, which has already made Lavender Vinyl a popular stop in Ogden—a bit of a surprise to both Hallows and Lundell. As a result, Lavender Vinyl has significantly expanded its inventory from when they first opened and plans on continuing to expand their musical offerings. “That’s the goal—to keep on growing our inventory and having stuff that people want, showing them something new while we’re at it,” says Lundell.
As a store that specializes in selling records and record players, the increasing popularity of an “old-fashioned” way of listening to music is something that Hallows and Lundell believe will always have a place with music lovers. Despite the fact that the internet has made streaming music incredibly easy, there is something special about owning and collecting records. “I think it’s just the ritual of having something physical to hold or going into the store and finding something that you might not ever have seen or heard before,” says Lundell. “The internet feels very impersonal. It’s curated to specific [tastes], like, ‘You should like this—this is all you can like.’ It’s a box for any genre, when it should be more than that.” The curiosity of selecting music based on what the album cover looks like or listening to an album as the artist intended is a feeling that Hallows and Lundell want to inspire for the customers who walk into their shop.
For Lavender Vinyl, buying back records while also obtaining records from 10 different sources lends to the vast collection that is steadily growing in their shop. “We got in this really awesome buy last week with really obscure reggae records, like Jamaican presses of old Bob Marley,” says Hallows. “The fact that a Jamaican press of a Bob Marley record made it to Ogden is pretty awesome.” Both Hallows and Lundell have an extensive background in selling records and delving into more obscure genres, having worked for Graywhale in the past. Now that they have their own record shop, their repertoire is only expanding. “Every city and every state has a different flavor,” says Lundell, who notes that while there are a lot of buybacks in the prog rock genre, Lavender Vinyl has bought back some rare and unique music from some of their customers in many different genres. Keeping a good variety also brings in a good mix of people from different demographics. “We don’t want to cater to just grandpas or just hipsters,” says Lundell. Hallows echoes that sentiment. “It’s why we try to order from 10 different sources,” she says. “Being able to cater to everyone is really important.”
While Lavender Vinyl buys and sells records, they also collaborate with other local businesses and artists in order to really support a growing artistic community in Ogden. Most notably, Lavender Vinyl participates in Ogden’s First Friday art stroll, featuring different artists each month. They have also collaborated with the nearby Kaffe Mercantile. “If the community hadn’t been open to letting us come in when we were getting started, we wouldn’t be here,” says Hallows. In addition to these collaborations, Lavender Vinyl is also offering consignment opportunities to local musicians in any genre and through any medium—not just vinyl. For Hallows and Lundell, giving these opportunities to local artists is one of the ways they can contribute to the community that made the Lavender Vinyl dream possible. “They’re our friends—everyone in this community are our friends,” says Hallows. “That’s what I think sets us apart: We have personal conversations with pretty much everyone who comes into our door. We’re not just in this for ourselves. We’re in this for the community of Ogden and to change the music culture here, and I think that’s noticeable when people walk in our doors.”