The music politely echoing over antique lamps and scented soaps in the Frisco Mercantile fades away upon entering ZT Records.
There are no doors separating the record store from the rest of the Mercantile, but the boundaries between the two are clear. Strings of green and red LED lights offer a blazing pop in the midst of dry, white fluorescent light. Def Leppard surveilles the medium-sized nook from one wall while James Taylor and Rod Stewart keep watch from the other.
Here, The Eagles may advise you to “Take it Easy” as you flip through soul and jazz records. Your eyes scan the walls and bins filled with the tangible version of music, including the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes album that somehow made its way to Frisco, Texas.
In this space, “vintage” is not the silent stature of an old lamp or a funky vase. It’s the warm sounds of Chuck Berry’s Golden Hits, or the fact that modern takes like the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack have made a home in vinyl grooves. You can find reprints of old classics getting a new breath of life.
Through Facebook Live sales events and at in-person sales events around Collin County, owner Phil Ramirez is building a local record-selling community. He invites other local vendors to join in on the sale—some even sell their stuff in his shop.
“I’ve kept it local on purpose because I wanted people to know that there are other record dealers within our own community,” Phil says. “You don’t have to go all the way down to Dallas or Fort Worth to find cool records that you’re looking for.”
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What started as a business run through Craigslist in 2009, in 2011 became a small galley tucked away in the Frisco Mercantile, offering an almost secret treasure trove of vinyl for years. Rock hits would play ethereally over this refuge, and the same red and green string lights put a moody hue over the walls, which featured a Pink Floyd The Wall imprint.
Now that ZT Records has moved to the larger lot next door, a diagonal wall of records welcomes any wandering eye from a nearby stall. Behind it, two velvety ochre chairs, one sporting a yarn-embroidered floral pillow harkening back to the ’70s, invites passers-by to grab an album, place it on the provided stereo and listen through headphones.
One man places those headphones over child’s ears on a Sunday afternoon.
“That’s Devo,” he tells the child.
A few minutes later, they leave with a woman who appeared from elsewhere in the Mercantile. They’re off to look at other artifacts from the past. But for a few minutes, the man and those two small children got to experience the pocket of space bringing the sound of vinyl to Frisco.
Originally published in the January 2020 Hidden Collin edition of Local Profile.
The original edition incorectly named Pink Floyd’s ablum “The Wall.” We apologize for the error.