I am a huge collector of music and movies, especially vinyl albums. I love it when I find that rare or unique album, movie or DVD that I have been trying to find. That passion, excitement and rush you get when you discover a gem on vinyl or a cult classic that completes part of your collection is unparalleled, and this is exactly what Jim Vasser and Jennifer Mcgaugh love about running Music Box.
I recently had a chance to sit down and talk with Vasser and Mcgaugh about their store. The original Music Box opened 24 years ago. Two years ago, the two bought a property which included Music Box. For about one month people were knocking on the door wanting to come in, so they opened the store up quickly, and it proved to be a fun and viable business. The store has recently moved into the former location of Tom’s Music on West Navy Boulevard, which was in business for 21 years.
Of course, what they enjoy the most are the people that come into their shop. “The people, we love their stories, the excitement and significance of the music in their lives. Music is mood altering, mood enhancing, it’s poetry to their soul,” they admit.
I mentioned that I am an avid collector. However, Vasser and Mcgaugh do not consider themselves collectors. They just truly love music and movies. “The nice thing about us is we are not collectors, so we are able to cross genres so easily that we listen to everything from Bach to Nirvana,” says Vasser.
They would not be so successful in such a short amount of time if they were collectors. Collectors—and I know this first hand—do not like to share. Vasser and Mcgaugh want to share what is in the store with everyone.
Music Box is decorated with all kinds of memorabilia. Customers come in, and it’s like a walk down memory lane. Indeed, this was true for me. As soon as the interview was done I began to look around. I started seeing records, posters and movies that took me back to particular moments in my life.
Don’t get the wrong idea—even though Vasser and Mcgaugh are not collectors, their store does cater to collectors, too. “A collector is always building their own collection of unique and special items that we have at an incredible price,” Mcgaugh excitedly professes.
Not just local residents shop at their store. I learned that people who do business in Mobile will make a point to come by their shop. Several hundred vacationers, snowbirds and shopkeepers drop by annually. People who own music stores elsewhere come here to find records and movies for their stores.
The great thing about moving into the former Tom’s Music location is that they are marrying two different music stores together. Music Box deals primarily in vinyl and DVDs. Tom’s specialized in the CD market. By marrying the two they have increased selling in a certain genre of music. They’re moving more heavily into R&B, Hip Hop and Southern Soul, which previously they never played. However, the amazing thing about Music Box is the variety of items, whether it’s music or movies.
“It is quite interesting to watch 27 customers in the store at one time,” says Vasser. Seeing people shopping for everything from movies to records to CDs to box sets is wonderful to watch for the two co-owners.
“One of the things we initially learned at Music Box is music transcends culture, economics, as well as age. What’s really wonderful coming over to our new location is we have broadened it even more so,” Mcgaugh exclaims.
Music Box has expanded the ability to have families, young people, old people and different cultures shopping together. It is really fun to hear everyone talking so passionately about their music. “It doesn’t matter who you are. It crosses all stereotypical lines I believe,” Vasser states.
I wanted to know what they loved the most about music. “It’s a mood defining venue. If you came in here and sat for eight hours you would be surprised at how the mood changes throughout the day,” he explains.
He might start the morning with the song “Low Rider” to get everyone pumped up. Then he might play Petulah Clark in the afternoon, and end the day with some jazz.
“We find treasures and listen to it,” he says.
I asked each of them what they loved about being in the music business. “I enjoy the music business so much because it is like Christmas every day,” Vasser says with a smile.
“You learn new things about music every day, people come in with interesting facts and trivia about music and movies,” adds Mcgaugh.
For them, it is nice to offer a venue where they can supply affordable new and used music to the community. Music Box is a family business that loves its customers and offers their product at incredible savings. Those savings go to the individual collector or lover of music and movies, and everyone in between. Also, you can find things you will never find at big stores because they only carry current stuff—Music Box has old, new and rare items.
One of the most unexpected occurrences is that their store has become a place for young people to hang out. “We find that we are an outlet for young people in the community,” says Mcgaugh.
Young people are dropped off by their parents and spend some time in the store. It’s a nice place where parents feel safe dropping off their kids. “It seems like we are always adopting people and families. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet people.” Mcgaugh explains.
What do they have, you might be asking? The store has everything from Bach to Nirvana, and everything in between. They have classical, harder-to-find jazz, rap, Hip Hop, traditional and alternative rock, and everything in between—new and used. You can also find an extensive vinyl collection.
As far as movies go, you can find older and harder-to-find movies and TV shows. Also, you can find current and recent TV show and movies. Plus, they can do special orders. “If we don’t have it, we will get it in for you from anywhere in the world,” they claim.
It doesn’t matter whether you are an avid collector, a long-time movie lover, a new music lover, or anywhere in between. If you love music or movies (or both), head to Music Box. Whatever your tastes, you’re bound to find something unique waiting for you.
3960 W. Navy Blvd.
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday