Goldmine's secret shopper — who will be 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.
Want to suggest a shop that Dr. Disc should visit? Send an e-mail to: DoctorDisc@Yahoo.com or contact Dr. Disc via Twitter @Doctordisc. Be sure to include the shop's name and address.
In this edition of Record Store Recon, Doc pays a visit to Cactus Music in Houston.
Store Name: Cactus Music
Address: 2110 Portsmouth, Houston, Texas, 77098
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 7 p.m. Sunday
STOCK: If it exists in music, you can find it here. New and used records, new and used CDs, cassette tapes — and I’m sure if you ask, they can find some 8-tracks. They carry T-shirts, posters, lunch boxes, books, magazines, puzzles, toys and even some candy on the counter. Cactus has a full supply of record players and supplies to keep your records nice and clean.
STAFF: This store has the most helpful staff I have ever encountered. Not only will they help you find something, but if they don’t have something, they are happy to suggest another local record store that may carry what you are seeking. Additionally, when you call in to search for something, staffers are happy to go hunt through their inventory to make sure that whatever the shop shows as being in stock is actually in the store. The fictional staffers of Championship Vinyl would be wise to visit Cactus Music to witness how customers are supposed to be treated.
STORE: The store has limited parking, but once you get into the store, there is plenty of room to move around and search through the vast inventory. Additionally, the store has a stage for in-store performances.
SELECTION: If you can’t find it here, it’s because you are misspelling it or someone else just bought it. Cactus has a great stock of new and used music and is willing to hold items if you call in. Plus, it offers mail order. Prices are fair, with many new items getting marked down, so you just need to look for great deals. Past Record Store Day items are available, and autographed records and CDs can be had for just a few more dollars than the unsigned copies.
SPECIAL MENTION: For the past five years, Cactus Music has been voted best Record Store by the Houston Press, and with good reason. This is a “destination” shop. If you are in the area, you need to visit this store. Cactus also hosts numerous live performances each month and is a full participant in National Record Store Day and Back to Black Friday events.