Kirsten Phillips walked into a Wichita record store seven years ago not expecting to find anything but records she could buy for her vinyl collection.
She ended up finding not only new records, but also her husband, future business partner and future workplace.
Phillips is now the full-time manager of Spektrum Muzik, which she runs alongside her husband, Adam Phillips, owner and founder of the store.
The couple tied the knot last January and are also preparing to celebrate another milestone in their lives in August – the store’s 10th anniversary at 905 W. Douglas.
“We’re getting ready to have a party and celebration,” Kirsten said, seated next to Adam. “To him [Adam], it’s so shocking that it’s been 10 years. It’s like since you started, not that you didn’t think it would go well, but he never would have guessed that’s where we’d be, especially married.
Adam’s store is approaching this milestone at a time when vinyl records have grown in popularity after all but disappearing in the 1980s.
Vinyl sales jumped more than 50% in 2021 and surpassed digital album and CD sales, according to Statista data from Nielsen Music, Billboard and MRC.
The format’s rise in popularity is part of the reason for the store’s success, Adam said. Over the years, he said he’s seen vinyl records go from collectible to functional.
“As far as why it’s popular, I think all music is popular,” Adam said. “Vinyl tends to be just, I think the packaging and the image, something tangible, especially in a digital and streaming world, it’s nice to have something physical that you really like . I think a lot of people saw that.
A resident of Wichita for most of his life, Adam is a musician himself and has played in local bands.
He opened the store just as vinyl records were starting to roll out, but his wife said that wasn’t the only reason he opened it in 2012.
“The reason he started was just to create something new — not just jump on a trend,” Kirsten said. “Especially now it’s obvious that it’s popular. I think that’s why he did so well is because he really came from that place of music lover, vinyl lover and needing to make it happen.
For Adam, the most rewarding part of the job is connecting “someone with a record that they end up loving or changing their life. The records have supported me in ways that I can’t really define. Music is the language that says the unsaid.
Kirsten graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She quit all her jobs to work full-time at Spektrum and has been running the store alongside Adam for over a year.
Kirsten said she measures the success of the store not by metrics, but by personal relationships.
“It’s all about those personal relationships – otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this, because it’s not a millionaire’s job,” she said. “We could easily go and do maybe more elsewhere, but it’s really for the passion and the love of music, and just seeing new people every day discovering something for the first time. That’s really what keeps us going. »
One of the couple’s favorite memories is of a client proposal that took place in the store. Store employees lined up to play music for their customer while he offered.
As with everything, running the business has not been without its challenges for young entrepreneurs. Sometimes it’s hard not to carry home work-related questions, comments and issues, they said.
Although they have a few part-time employees, they are the only full-time employees. Sometimes the two take overnight camping trips just to relax and distract themselves from work.
Inflation also presented challenges for the company. While the average retail price for a record was around $20 when Adam first opened the store, Kirsten said it’s now almost always $40.
Business owners always negotiate and buy vinyl records to support the business.
“People may think, ‘They’re killing it,’ but our cost is so high on that, it’s really, really difficult when you want to bring in new releases, new vinyl, but it’s just really expensive” , said Kirsten.
Adam said: “Locally the community has been great and very supportive.”
The couple have also partnered with local businesses on several occasions. For example, Spektrum Muzik has partnered with Local Roasters Coffee to manufacture and sell its own branded coffee.
“The store being open for so long speaks for itself,” Kirsten said. “It’s just super encouraging when people come back again and again or it’s super encouraging when there are new people finding us.”
The record store will celebrate its 10th anniversary with an in-store party on August 6. The store will collaborate with five local artists to create new logos and artwork that they will turn into merchandise for purchase that day, such as stickers, T-shirts, bags and more.
The store is open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“It would be my first business venture as an entrepreneur,” Adam said. “To see him succeed is gratifying, especially after ten years. Most people only aim for three years.
“My wife – this is definitely something that I hadn’t expected or anticipated.”
This story was originally published August 2, 2022 4:17 a.m.