GET TO KNOW…: Tom Ray and Lew Prince, Vintage Vinyl, St. Louis, MO
by Keya Maeesha
Tom Ray and Lew Prince never thought it would turn out like this. Having not only the largest record store in all of St. Louis, MO, but to be able to withstand the changes in economy, the surge of digital records, and fluctuations in the music industry. For them, they were just music lovers who wanted to share music.
Sitting on the corner of Delmar Blvd. and Leland Ave. in what is known as “The Loop” section of St. Louis, Vintage Vinyl has become a trademark of the city. Per discussion with the owners, it was put there on purpose. Why? Because it is the dividing line between the have and the have-nots. Ray and Prince wanted to show that despite class, race, background, occupation, or sex, the one thing that brings folks together is music. Music doesn’t recognize any of those things. Its part of why they are as successful as they are today.
I got an opportunity to visit this landmark on my visit to STL. Ray and Prince were kind enough to sit with me and talk about how they got together and the history of their most prized possession.
I adore these two. They are two good friends that come together and share music to the masses. Everyone in STL knows who they are and adopt them as their surrogate “godfathers of record stores”. The legacy they will leave behind is unmatched. They are the definition of cool and ones you should definitely get to know.