Homer’s is an Omaha music institution. Besides offering bestsellers alongside more obscure releases you’d never find at any of the big box chains, Homer’s often hosts in-store performances from national artists and it has been employing music geeks gainfully since the early 1970s. As one of two original Old Market businesses founded in 1971 (the other is The French Café), the old market store recently moved a half block west but retains the same overwhelming record store vibe it always offered. With just two locations now, the other is right off Center St. on 132nd St, Homer’s has adapted quite ably to the changing nature of buying music, getting more into new vinyl sales and offering online sales as an Amazon Marketplace Seller (as of this year no online purchases can be made through homersmusic.com but the website is still up). While it’s always fun to check out the new releases and best sellers display, the main reason to visit Homer’s has to be chatting with the knowledgeable employees about stellar albums sliding under the mainstream radar, special edition releases and surprise must-haves. “When people choose to buy complete albums, 80 percent of the time they still buy physical copies,” says Homer’s GM/Buyer Mike Fratt. “If they’re going to buy a song they’re more likely to go digital. So, we don’t move a lot of big hits like Taylor Swift. We’re focusing more on catalog, specifically catalog under $10. We’ve also put more effort into focusing on used sales, vinyl and online sales.” Thirteen years ago Homer’s became part of The Coalition of Independent Record Stores, a vast network of independently owned record stores who have teamed together to swing a bigger stick. Record Store Day is one great thing that comes in part from the Coalition, a day where stores like Homer’s sell all sorts of special editions vinyl, 7-inches, CDs and other swag. This year the Record Store Day folks are teaming to offer a Black Friday special wherein several one-off releases and special editions will be available, most notably Metallica’s Live at Grimey’s (Grimey’s is an independent record store in Nashville). And while the record buying business is changing dramatically and Homer’s has felt the affects, closing stores in Lincoln, Bellevue and Des Moines, the two current stores still offer that enjoyable experience of wandering aisles and flipping through stacks and stacks of music to find that treasure you’ve been looking for.

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