Friday, September 5, 2008
Road Trip Lexington: Pops Resale and Consignment
For the last 14 years my sole trips for pleasure have been to Lexington, KY, to visit my family. For many years I frequented the flea markets around town, as well as those in Georgetown, Cincinnati, and southern Indiana, but these flea markets ebbed as ebay flowed. The Gibson guitar amps, the McCoy pottery and the Griswold fry pans were being peddled to the world along with those Heathkit tube amps I lusted after, and my Sunday afternoons were not the same. The hifi gear that was so plentiful in the early '90s was gone. How was I ever going to maintain my habit!??
About 10 years ago I visited a Goodwill in the Meadowthorpe Plaza on Leestown Rd. and stumbled into a long and narrow space nearby: Pops Resale and Consignment. At the time it was just two years old and the space was not yet full. But it had a healthy stock of vinyl and gear at very reasonable prices. The lanky proprietor, presumed to be Pops, was friendly and knowledgeable, and willing to accommodate the stray visitor from Austin. I was hooked. Over the years I have always made time for a visit or two, and I usually manage to bring my 90 year old Dad to make sure he gets a bit of exercise.
Pops Resale is truly a mom and pop operation. Pops is owned by Dan Shorr and his wife Sharon, and they are in their 12th year of business. From their web site it seems that Pops was not really Dan's nickname, but it was an inevitable outcome of the business. The origin of Pops is the 'Previously Owned Products' they intended to sell instead of mass market, landfill-destined, contemporary dreck. Vinyl is still the bread and butter of the business, and vintage hifi gear is prominently featured, but the back has been opened up and now contains an extensive collection of vintage clothing and furniture.
In the early days Dan tried to host live music with limited success, but now he books Saturday afternoon shows over two months into the future. Here is the band setting up:
I am a big fan of '70s silver faced receivers. Many years ago I purchased a non functional Pioneer SX 1250 and had Pops ship it to Austin. No problem, Pops can accomodate. Some of Pops' gear is sold on consignment, most is his. Sometimes items are sold as-is in non-working (or semi-working!) condition for those of us who are game for some sweat equity. Items are always clearly described and prices are very reasonable. He has a steady supply of turntables for those who are vinyl impaired. Turntables are hard for me to get back to Austin, and I have thought about it on occasion... but I have been strong. Over the years my purchases have included an Akai M-8 tube type tape deck and a very lovely Technics SA 8100X quad receiver, both of which are in the queue to get restored and written up on this site. Here two customers are assisted by the 3 resident Drs. of Gearology:
To very briefly hop on the soap box: the quality of vintage gear is very hard to match in modern components at a corresponding price point. The build quality is just superb in '70s Sansui, Yamaha, Marantz, Pioneer and a host of other manufacturers. However, capacitors age and pots and switches get dirty. Do your ears a favor. Buy vintage gear from Pops and the other merchants around the country who protect these marvels of industrial art from the landfill. And if your vintage gear sounds a bit muzzy, support your local tech and get it restored. Your grandkids will thank you!
This year Dad told Caitlin behind the counter: 'You have everything I don't need.' That is correct, Dad, Pops Resale specializes in items that I want. Here's Caitlin at the check out:
Pops Resale and Consignment is located on 1423-B Leestown Rd. about 1/2 mile east (towards the center of town) from New Circle Rd. Give Pops a call at 859-254-7677. If you make it to Lexington and you are a fan of vintage records, gear, clothing or collectibles you just can't afford to miss it. It's a treat.