Katie Scott was 8 years old when she first started rocking out to albums by hair metal bands in the ’80s.
As a child, Scott took piano lessons, but was more attracted to the heavier music that her parents listened to. When she was a teenager, her parents passed along their record collection, which sparked her love of vinyl. Some of her favorite albums include Hunky Dory by David Bowie and Speaking in Tongues by Talking Heads.
After Loco Cowpoke, a family-owned salsa shop, closed in downtown McKinney, Scott saw the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream and open a record store. Two weeks after the salsa shop closed, Scott signed the paperwork to lease out the space and became the first female record store owner in Collin County.
In July, Red Zeppelin opened its doors.
“Who would have thought it would have happened during the pandemic?” Scott says.
Scott, who is a former Allen ISD teacher, designed the record store to take music lovers back to the past when they walk through the doors. Posters of artists from all genres such as Soundgarden, Beastie Boys and Kendrick Lamar bedeck Red Zeppelin’s walls. Shelves are stocked with Catholic-esque prayer candles with images of artists like David Bowie, Lana Del Rey, and Beyoncé.
As shoppers explore the red-painted store, Scott plays records by Massive Attack and other ’90s alternative rock in the background. The store itself boasts collections of rock, hip-hop, and electronic records from local and international artists alike.
“I play whatever I feel in the mood for when I’m working the store,” Scott says. “The later it gets, the louder the music generally gets as well.”
In addition to Red Zeppelin, Scott is also the owner of The Groovy Coop in downtown McKinney, offering works of art and eclectic goods. The Groovy Coop also sold records, and after seeing how popular they were among customers, she knew she wanted to open a record store on its own.
About two years ago, Scott met singer and guitarist Bayleigh Cheek while she was working at The Groovy Coop. The Dallas Observer called her “one of Dallas’ most promising singer-songwriters.” When Scott had the idea of opening a record store, she knew she wanted Cheek by her side.
While most people consume music via streaming, Scott believes that vinyl records offer a fully immersive musical experience that one can’t receive digitally.
“You get to experience music the way that artist imagined it from beginning to end, coming across songs you never would have heard and loved if you only listened to the one or two singles,” Scott says. “You get some pretty amazing cover artwork as well to put on display.”
Cheek, who manages Red Zeppelin, shares Scott’s affinity for vinyl. “It just sounds completely different from any other medium,” she says.
In addition to vinyl, Red Zeppelin offers compact discs and other music memorabilia. There is also a listening room, where shoppers can listen to an album of their choice.
In July, Red Zeppelin saw a considerably large turnout on opening day, despite having only promoted the store via social media. For their grand opening party, which took place earlier this month, Leah Lane of Rosegarden Funeral Party performed a DJ set for socially distanced customers.
Scott and Cheek hope to showcase more local talent within the shop. In October, they hope to host socially distanced show and a Halloween party, which will have a stylist in-shop to give customers “punk cuts.”
Since COVID-19 struck, many people have sought comfort in art, whether it be streaming films or listening to the latest music. Both Scott and Cheek believe that this is why Red Zeppelin has done very well since its opening.
“We were expecting slower business because of quarantine,” Cheek says. “But I think since everyone’s at home, and they want to support local businesses, and they need some sort of entertainment; they’re wanting to get back into vinyl. I think we’ve done so well since we’ve opened.”
As the only female record store owner in Collin County, Scott is proud of having been able to open in the middle of a pandemic. She hopes younger women stay true to themselves and continue to make moves in male-dominated industries.
“I do what I love and enjoy and just hope it strikes a chord with others,” she says. “That way of life works for anyone really, but when it comes to women in male dominated industries, just be unabashedly you and put your all into what you do.
“It’s better to stand out than to fit in.”