Record store set to open

February 21, 1993|By Frank Lynch | Frank Lynch,Staff Writer

Record and Tape Traders, one of the most successful discount music stores in the metropolitan area, will open a shop next month in the Bel Air Town Center.

The 1,500-square-foot store will be the eighth and second largest in the chain that buys and sells new and used compact discs and cassettes.

It will be the company's first store in Harford County. The other stores are in Fullerton, Pikesville, Towson, Catonsville, Reisterstown, Glen Burnie and Dundalk.

Kevin Stander and Steve Smolen, co-owners of Record and Tape Traders, have been in business 15 years. "We started the business right after we graduated from college," Mr. Stander said. He attended Frostburg State University. Mr. Smolen went to the University of Maryland at College Park.

Mr. Stander admits that luck may have had something to do with thecompany's success, but a keen knowledge of the market and a sense of what interests buyers has played a larger role. He said they began to phase out LPs about two years before the once-popular records disappeared from the scene two years ago.

Mr. Stander said the average value of inventory at each location is about $100,000. "Some locations, like our largest store in Towson, carry a larger inventory. Our inventory at the Bel Air store will probably be close to Towson's $150,000."

Customers will be able to find a full array of rock, jazz, pop and country CDs and cassettes. The store, which will be managed by Larry Kursch, also will carry T-shirts, memorabilia and posters of popular recording artists.

Trade-ins dating to the Beatles era are accepted and carry "like new" guarantees when resold.

"It's been a terrific formula for us over the years," said Mr. Stander. "It has allowed us to grow at approximately one new store every two years. And, we now have about 45 employees."

Now that the Bel Air store is about to open, the partners are starting a search for store No. 9, a process that takes about two years.

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