Jerry’s Records still thrives in a digital age
April 8, 2022
Jerry’s Records doesn’t seem all that special from the outside, but for music lovers and collectors alike, this Squirrel Hill store is a gold mine.
Named one of the best record stores in the United States by Rolling Stone magazine, Jerry’s has earned the title. The store is filled with thousands of records in a wide variety of genres, and its massive collection of records is astounding to new customers. The store sells used vinyl only, rather than new releases.
Customers enter the store after walking up a long stairway, and then they head into a huge main room filled with bins and boxes of popular favorites or records that were hits briefly in the past.
“I always respected that with Jerry’s. If you want that common record that no one else bothers to carry, you can come here and find it,” owner Christian Grauzer said.
Other rooms branch off into less popular genres like Christmas music, soundtracks, and vocalists. Despite the huge inventory and varying genres, rock, soul, and jazz typically attract the most customers.
“Classical does not sell well, unfortunately,” Grauzer said. “But at the same time, I think our store is unique in the sense that we have all that. You go to any smaller shop and they don’t have room to house tens of thousands of classical records.”
With its knowledgeable staff and huge inventory, Jerry’s allows customers a chance to explore other genres, something Amazon cannot match, Grauzer said.
“You don’t get the experience of going in and talking to someone and learning about new stuff. You don’t go to Amazon and hear music playing in the background. You can’t ask an employee, ‘What do you think of this record?’ It’s different,” Grauzer said.
Jerry Weber originally opened the store in 1985 in Oakland and then later moved to the current location in 1993. In 2017, Weber sold the store to Grauzer, a longtime employee. Weber passed away in January of this year.
Grauzer originally worked at Allegro Hearth Bakery, located up the street from Jerry’s. Grauzer soon became a regular as he visited Jerry’s frequently after work, and then later he became an employee. He was planning to open his own business but couldn’t pass on the opportunity to buy Jerry’s.
“Jerry had talked about retiring many times in the past, but this time he was actually serious. I thought, well, I could open my own small store and probably struggle, or I could go with an institution.”
The store for years has specialized in selling used vinyl, but Grauzer plans to incorporate CDs and cassette tapes with a new section of the store that is under construction.
“I think (physical music) makes you engaged and pay more attention to the music. I also think they sound better, warmer, and different than digital stuff,” Grauzer said. “It’s more of an immersive experience than hitting a button on a phone.”