After 41 years of operating Record Rack, owner Pat Strachota will be retiring this spring.
“I thank my loyal customers for being such good customers over all the years,” Strachota, 67, said. “They are the ones who made Record Rack Record Rack. … I am going to hop on my motorcycle and ride. No destinations set. Just to see a sunset and a sunrise.”
Located at 2801 S. Olive St. in the Jefferson Square shopping center, Record Rack sells compact discs, cassette tapes, records, eight-tracks, Greek sorority and fraternity clothing, hookahs, biker gear, swimwear, black and strobe lights, skateboards, autographed guitars, e-cigarettes, lingerie, adult novelties, DVDs, spices, stones and candles.
“I want to do what I want to do whenever I want to do it right now,” Strachota said. “I live on a small farm. I’ve got a lot of work I need to do around there. My girlfriend has a lot of ‘honey-do’s’ for me to do.”
He is looking for a buyer on a cash deal and has been hearing from one or two prospective buyers each week. He said he has no plans to finance such a transaction. In the meantime, he is offering sales and expects his regular customers to take advantage. If he does not sell his store, he expects to close by the end of April.
“If I have a lot of stuff remaining, I may ask my landlord if I can stay until May,” Strachota said.
The advent of MP3 technology has impacted Record Rack, but not greatly because Strachota sells a broad assortment of merchandise.
Besides the merchandise in the store, he has 17,000 DVDs in a warehouse on his farm.
Vicki Hughes and her fiance David Green, both 48, have shopped and browsed at Record Rack for more than 30 years.
Hughes smiled while recalling her shopping at the store “probably every pay day.”
“It’s always been if you want to find really good music you’re not going to find it at Walmart,” Hughes said. “You’re going to find it here. That’s the norm. A lot of people my age come to Record Rack before they go to Walmart.”
Hughes hopes Strachota finds someone to buy his store.
Green was shopping for a Kid Rock album and whatever else caught his eye.
“It’s sad because Record Rack has been here for a lot of years,” Green said. “I hate to see it go because this has been a staple for as long as I can remember. I was born and raised here. There comes a time and a place you have to move on to other things.”
Alia Reeves shopped for Greek organization paraphernalia Wednesday and has been a customer since 1990. She is going to miss shopping at the store.
“You can’t find anything anywhere else except if you go out of town to Little Rock,” Reeves, a Pine Bluff resident, said. “I like patronizing my own city. … The Record Rack was the popping place for us as teenagers to get our records.”
Pat Strachota keeps a framed portrait of his late son U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Strachota inside his store. Michael Strachota died serving in Afghanistan in 2012. As retirement beckons, Pat Strachota will visit his grandson in San Antonio, Texas, and enjoy not being constrained to a schedule.