For some, riding around with the windows down blaring their favorite album is just a hobby, but for the owners and frequent shoppers of Terrapin Station record store, music is a way of life.
Terrapin Station has been a staple in the community of Murray since 1985. The first store was located on Olive Street, but in 1993 it moved into the Bel-Air Shopping Center, where it is still located today.
Bobby Copeland, owner of Terrapin Station, grew up in Marshall County, Ky., but after living in places such as Syracuse, N.Y., and southern California, decided to come back to Murray and open his own used record store like the ones he had seen in the larger cities.
Copeland got the name for his store from a Grateful Dead album released in 1977 and said the band is significant to him because it’s the band he has seen the most live and is one of his favorites.
About 10 years ago, Copeland was contacted by lawyers of The Grateful Dead who were putting together a tribute gallery for the band and were interested in using the name “Terrapin Station” for the name of the interactive gallery.
“You can put out a song under the same name as someone else and you can copyright lyrics but not a name,” he said. “So they sent us back another letter and said if we sent them $10 we could be ambitiously licensed with them and it was settled that way.”
Copeland said that previously most of the traffic through the store was from students, but it has nearly evened out between students and community members. He has also had people travel from places like St. Louis, Mo., and Lexington, Ky., just to see what kind of selection the store has and take advantage of its low prices.
While CD sales in the store are slowly dwindling, Copeland said people are coming in chasing classic vinyl records.
“Back then it was people coming in and trading in their old vinyl records in ’85 and getting CDs,” Copeland said. “But now it’s the other way around; people don’t want CDs anymore, they want the vinyl sound.”
Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd are the records that most college-aged students come into the store are looking for. People who bought the albums in the 60s and 70s when they came out are trading in the records and people in their twenties are the ones coming in chasing after them, he said.
“Vinyl is a sweeter sound,” Copeland said. “Some people would describe it as warmer; other people have different ways of saying it. It’s all about touch. When the sound is digital, it’s read by a code and it’s kind of like instant coffee and fresh coffee. You can see the difference and you can hear the difference.”
Vinyl records and CDs are not the only things offered to customers at Terrapin Station. It offers a variety of used books, DVDs and clothing. It also offers in-store credit or cash back for items people bring in.
“We have customers we see every week,” he said. “People don’t come in to find anything in particular, but just to see what has come in the past week. We sometimes get dozens or hundreds of new pieces of vinyl a week and we always have people coming in regularly to check on that.”
Story by Breanna Sill, Assistant Features Editor