Revilla Grooves and Gear opened its doors to a new space in late August. Moving just .4 of a mile, a mere 8 minute walk, from the previous location landed the shop’s proprietor and namesake Darren Revilla in a multi-functional record store that he’s been dreaming up for years. The new space opens up to a digger’s delight with high ceilings and lighting designed to highlight the clean lines and make it easy to search the bins. No longer do the records sit in stacked crates as they did in the previous shop; now they sit in sleek black wooden rectangles without partitions, allowing the shopper to sift through a longer row with no physical barriers. The previous shop reveled in eccentric decor, while this one thrives on minimalism, allowing the items on the walls and in the bins to take center stage.
In just three years, Darren’s previous store rose to the top echelon for record buyers who came from all over the world to buy. The eclectic decor and neatly-curated crates attracted shoppers from Japan and beyond who would scour the bins in search of clean copies of vinyl from an array of genres. As the shop grew, the 600 square feet of retail space would swell with records and gear, and if the day was particularly busy, digging and listening required polite shuffling on the part of the patrons. Of the space limitations of the old shop, Revilla said, “At the old shop, 15 people would be tight. Here, 15 people would still feel spacious.” Effectively, the space has tripled and can now handle 50-60 patrons among its several rooms, which adds elbow room and declutters the experience.
Along with a new retail space, the new office boasts a wall of custom wooden shelving to keep the records organized before they get cleaned and hit the floor. Darren is no longer crammed into a a tiny nook. There’s plenty of room to price, bag and shoot those videos of the New Arrivals for Instagram.
The new location has two additional rooms that make the experience unique. Down a hallway that sits in the center of large record space, the next room holds a listening space with optimal acoustics. Designed to feel accessible to tech nerds as well as those who don’t speak audiophile lingo, the room has a comfortable leather chair that sits in front of an equipment rack and is flanked by two monster floor speakers. After I arrived, Darren tested the moxy of a Macintosh MX-135 A/V Premap, two Macintosh MC 60 monoblock tube amplifiers, and a Shinola Runwell turntable pumping out warm tones through Spendor speakers. Acoustic panels line the walls, along with a large rectangular retro painting that adorns the wall behind the equipment. I sat and listened to Dave Grusin – Discovered Again! while Darren explained that the vision for this room was to allow buyers to hear their gear in an idyllic environment, whether the piece was at an entry level price or approached five figures. With gear sales making up a third of his business, Darren caters to those who want to dip a toe in the water as well as those who are already fully immersed.
At the end of the hallway, a room with shelves of gear and a glass displays houses amps, turntables, receivers, cartridges, and anything else the buyer needs to enjoy audio at home. One turntable, preamp, and receiver bundle was flagged for a total of just $220 for a woman who wanted to recapture the sound that she remembered while listening to music with her father. Her story essentially encapsulates the ethos of the new shop–someone who comes in wanting to enjoy her favorite albums the way they sounded when they were released. Spending under $250 to recapture that sound, along with picking up a few titles for under $10 is a cost-effective way to join a hobby that can turn into an obsession.
– Jesse Carr