John Sands has always been a collector.
What started out as a collection of toys and baseball cards quickly evolved into a vinyl record collection, which can now be found in her own record store on Monona Drive.
âI’ve been doing collectibles my whole life,â Sands said. “I had a phase where I was collecting toys, baseball cards, a bit of everything, and now recordsâ¦ so I’m very familiar with collectibles.”
Sands opened The Door in June 2020, naming it after the sequel’s underground location.
Hidden in a long hallway sandwiched between four other stores in a mall, Sands often jokes that if you blink you’ll miss it.
âThe common joke is that the building has four other businesses with a very strong retail presence and facade, but I’m basically the hallway, or doorway, between two businesses north of me and two businesses south of me. “Sables said.
It often takes a few tries for customers to find “the door to the door” as some call it.
âWhat happens is everyone walks right past me the first time around, or people call me and say they’re knocking on random doors and can’t find me,â Sands said. âIt’s not a great place but once you discover me you don’t forget where I am, and that’s part of the fun and charm of the place.â
The shop has a family atmosphere. Every new customer is treated like a longtime friend or family member, Sands said.
Regardless of the less-than-ideal location, Sands said business was stable despite opening a retail store amid a pandemic around an industry that some say is in decline.
According to Sands, the pandemic has been a catalyst for nostalgia, leading to higher vinyl record sales than ever before.
âPeople went back to records during the pandemic,â Sands explained. “People started to read more, things like puzzle sales skyrocketed, Lego sales skyrocketedâ¦ these things all boosted the collector’s market, at least for records, even more through the roof than ever before. “
The last time vinyl record sales were this high, Ronald Reagan was president. According to a report by the Recording Industry Association of America, record sales exceeded CD sales for the first time since the early 1980s.
In 2020, vinyl sales increased 29.9% while CD sales fell 47.6%, with $ 616.9 million spent globally on vinyl records and record players last year. .
Despite a fairly successful first 10 months in business, Sands was supposed to open two months earlier, but had to postpone it due to more secure home orders from Governor Tony Evers.
Sands admits it was frustrating and doubts were sometimes high.
âI was going to open in April 2020, but for obvious reasons I didn’t and couldn’t. Being in retail all my life and collectibles it was a little frustrating to open up because I felt like the process wasâ¦ I wasn’t going to attract a lot of people, I didn’t was not going to be able to aggressively open appropriately. “Sands said.
Yet he also found the liners silver.
âOn the positive side, my place is very small and the rent is not very expensive, so compared to other companies with a rent of $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 per month, it was difficult for them to keep going during the period. pandemic, âSands said. “For me, I’m more capable of doing a long-term soft open.”
The Door focuses primarily on the heavy metal and punk genres, although the store also has a small selection of jazz, blues, and classical music.
Sands doesn’t just have music to sell, however. The Door also includes a collectible movie section, posters, t-shirts, and books.
âIf it’s very guitar-oriented, strong and fast, that’s the niche of the store,â Sands said. âOne of the reasons I did this was that when I was collecting records, when I was dealing with collectors in the past, I never sold my rock and my punk because I knew it would become more valuable over time. “
The opening hours of The Door are another charm that makes the Collector’s Shop unique. As a father, Sands said he had to keep The Door hours more sporadic as he tried to navigate virtual school with his son and his wife’s full-time career.
He encourages customers to follow The Door’s social media pages to keep abreast of the record store’s weekly hours, which are typically Fridays and Sundays, with sometimes Saturdays.
Sands said opening The Door is one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
âIt was one of the coolest things to do, to find this cool niche market, and it worked really well for me,â Sands said.