Traffic Records brings nostalgic vibrations to downtown Atascadero
Traffic Records at 5870 Traffic Way in Atascadero is one of the newer businesses in the downtown Colony District. Manuel Barba opened the store in March with his partner Dawn Neill.
“I didn’t think I’d be opening a record store at all,” Barba said. “I just knew I would do something with music.”
The location in downtown Atascadero opened up and Barba said when he did the math, it was clear that Atascadero was the place to open a record store.
“It didn’t take me long to figure it out,” Barba said.
And that was how Traffic Records on Traffic Way was born.
The walls of the 400-square-foot space are lined with wooden boxes filled with vinyl records. Many of which Barba buys from people who have either inherited the records or looking to downsize what they’d collected over the years.
While he doesn’t take every record that comes through the door, he takes a look at what people bring in. He checks the condition of the dust jacket, the condition of the record and evaluates the record on if it’s something that would appeal to his customers.
“I’ve shifted my mindset [when looking for records],” Barba said. “It’s about getting them out into the community. I’m not necessarily looking for records in the same way I was before.”
Now, he said, he gets excited when he finds a pristine record that he knows his customers will want.
Barba starting with reselling vinyl by organizing record swaps in San Luis Obispo, where he lives with Neill and their three children. The Record Days still continue two to three times a year at the Guild Hall on Broad Street in SLO.
“I’m addicted to music, not vinyl,” Barba said. “Vinyl is just how I prefer to listen to it.”
He added that vinyl conveys the music in the way that the musicians intended.
Barba himself D.J.s events and weddings with records. At his store, he plays the full album of records in the collection he carefully curates for his customers. The full album is put together and is meant to be listened to in full, not just listening to the hits.
In addition to selling vinyl records, Traffic Records also sells cassettes and 45s.
Barba is in the process of getting a machine that will enable him to sell tickets from eventbrite.com.
Got some vinyl collecting dust in your closet? Take your collection to Traffic Records. Barba will sort through them to pick out what he will resale. He pays cash or gives store credit to sellers. After he buys the records, he takes out every record to inspect and clean it before putting it out for sale. He has boxes upon boxes of records in his back room, just waiting for him to go through them and get them on the floor.