By Dr. Disc
Goldmine’s secret shopper — known to you only as Dr. Disc — travels extensively and loves to visit record shops during those trips. An avid collector and music lover, the good Doc scopes out shops near and far and grades them on a scale of 1 to 10 in each of five different categories: Stock, Staff, Store, Selection and anything deserving of Special Mention.
Name: Strictly Discs
Address: 1900 Monroe St., Madison, Wis.
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
One of the greatest selections of music you will find in one location: records, CDs and cassettes under one roof. They also sell record players and cleaning supplies. They even have their own house-brand record cleaning solvent. An official “Loser” distributor for SubPop Records, the shop buys used music of all kinds. When the shop acquires a large collection, it advertises when those records will hit the shelves.
I found the staff here to be very helpful — not only within the store, but also if you order over the phone; the service you get is amazing. They will even go so far as to let you know about other special offers they have going that might interest you. Conversations about music are to be had with this staff. No “Barry” (á la “High Fidelity”) staffers here.
The shop does a good job with the space it has.
The basement is a little dark, but it’s all very clean and well organized. Space can be a tight when there are a lot of customers, though.
Starting with just the typical used inventory, you will find most artists located in the basement. Most new releases, both vinyl and CD, are on the first floor, as well as a good selection of 45s. You will find most styles of music in all formats. If the shop doesn’t have it in stock, staff will special order it for you and hold it or ship it out. The prices are some of the fairest I’ve come across. The only issue with the pricing is that some of the used records don’t have prices on them, and you need to find a staff member to look up the prices for you.
The store participates in Record Store Day; it has an amazing list of those titles available, plus special giveaways and activities that day. On most weekly new releases, there is a special giveaway with purchase. The shop offers a buying card for both new and used purchases. GM