A music mainstay in Stinkweeds
Recently, I mentioned my trip to Stinkweeds, the local go-to for vinyl, compact discs and even cassette tapes. The shop is an independently owned by Kimber Lanning, who opened the store 27 years ago. Over those nearly three decades, Stinkweeds has become a mainstay in downtown Phoenix that is dedicated to all genres of music with a soft spot for independent, local bands.
This week, I made a trip back while I was in the area to troll through the bins. I wasn't looking to buy anything, but rather just let myself wander the tiny aisles and maybe add more artists to my list that I need to take a listen to.
The shop appears modest from the outside and I can't help but feel welcomed by the petite patio off the back parking lot. I walk up and notice two rakish beach cruisers, surely the possessions of a couple of hot, trendy hipsters inside.
Their stock is right in front of you as you walk through the cramped entrance. This is part of Stinkweeds' charm though: The ability to turn in any direction and you are no more than an arm's length away from bins upon bins of vinyl. As I hear "Real Estate" coming through the store's sound system, I see that the walls blurt out names of bands and albums via vintage (and some not) posters. Stinkweeds swag is hanging from the walls so faithful patrons can boast their favorite local record store.
Aside from the aesthetics, the staff is what drives the place home. The name of the game is not pretension or pomposity. Rather, the staff is accessible and constructive when offering suggestions. Music is about personal taste and completely subjective, yet when the cool guy behind the counter, Dario, helped me out, his recommendations were purely objective. That's the sign of a truly remarkable customer service and will keep me coming back, even if it is just to wander.
Stinkweeds is located at 12 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85012
Reach the columnist at Katie.Self@asu.edu or on Twitter @rallykate. You can also find her on Spotify at Katie Self.
Katie Self is a fan of all things music-related. Having spent many years traveling to see bands all over the country, she has been fortunate enough to visit venues such as Madison Square Garden, Alpine Valley, Red Rocks and The Gorge. Katie has essentially put Dave Matthew’s children through college with the amount of money spent on DMB shows (78 and counting), and has recently gone on a country kick. She also enjoys carbs and her munchkin kitty, Buster.