Eric Shepard’s love for vinyl records goes back to his earliest childhood memories when he would sit in front of the record player and listen for hours to the great musicians like Elvis Presley. He gently slides a decades-old album from its case, gazing at its grooves under the light in his newly opened record store.
“There’s a warm, resonating sound that you get from vinyl records,” says Eric. “You can really feel the ambiance. With vinyl, the musical nuances transport you in a way that streaming never does. The anticipation of hearing the needle drop and the first note sound through your speakers always leaves you wanting more. Nothing feels as good as vinyl sounds.”
Eric fondly recalls first experiencing vinyl after his brother handed him a KISS album at the tender age of three.
“I was hooked. You can hear everything from the deep bass all the way to those high cymbals,” he says. “That’s what made me fall in love with vinyl records when I was a child. As I grew older and learned more about the musicians behind the sound, that just made each vinyl special with its own story behind it.”
Eric owns the store, aptly named Square Records, with his wife, Sara Anderson. The couple is excited for their new venture, which recently opened in downtown Carrollton across from The AMP at 113 Bradley Street. The cozy little record shop is filled with a variety of vinyl records, as well as music memorabilia that many fans would consider priceless items.
“Music is really our passion,” says Sara. “Eric knows more about vinyl records—and music in general—than anyone I’ve ever known. Not just about music, but about the history of all the great bands and even the ones you’ve probably never heard of.”
Sara’s deep knowledge of musical theory compliments Eric’s adoration for the albums and their history. Since a young age, she has studied classical piano and voice and plays a variety of instruments. The couple’s affection for music is part of what makes Square Records a must-visit destination for enthusiasts of all musical genres.
Jonathan Dockery, owner of The City Menus, has a degree in audio production and echoes Eric’s description of the intimate nature of listening to vinyl records.
“Vinyl gives you those resonating sounds of instrumentation,” says Jonathan. “You can really feel like you’re there in the studio with the band when you listen to a record.”
Eric loves to share his own stories from his days as a roadie in Nashville and Atlanta to see artists perform.
“I had lunch with Ed King at a Mexican Restaurant in Nashville. And I’ve hung out with more bands then I can even count.”
There’s only one thing Eric is as passionate about as vinyl and that’s sharing his love of music. With more than 3,000 records in his personal collection, he has a story behind each one.
“I have a lot of my favorite records signed by the musicians,” says Eric. “I’ve met many of them and gotten to know them. I enjoy when people just want to stop by and have a cup of coffee, crank up the record player and just talk about music.”
If there’s an old record collecting dust in your dad’s attic, there’s a good chance Eric can tell you more about the album than any Google search. Sara says his excitement for music is contagious.
“I like to say that he’s better than Apple Music or Pandora when it comes to suggesting other bands that you might like,” she laughs. “And that’s what music—especially vinyl records—is all about. Vinyl is a way for people to come together and share their love for music. It’s meant to be shared.”
Customers will find much more than just albums for sale at Square Records. Eric and Sara say their store is more of a community that carries everything from vintage t-shirts to expensive collectibles.
“We are a destination for you to rock out to insanely good music and to expand your collection at the same time,” says Sara. “We want people to come learn about music, and vinyl, and life. Because that’s what vinyl records–and we–are all about.”
Join Eric and Sara and their friends at Square Records for their Grand Opening Celebration on October 13 during the Carrollton Arts Festival beginning at 10 a.m.
Square Records is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Follow their Facebook page here, or check out #CarrolltonSquareRecords on Instagram. You can also visit their website by clicking here directly.