What a long, strange trip it's been...
From our beginnings online in 1999 to the realization of our brick & mortar store in 2010...then our new, bigger store in 2014, and then our second location in 2017, and finally a relocation of the first store in 2019, here's the story...
We Got The Beats was started by Tony on a webTV(!) in his apartment in 1999 when he discovered ebay. He went there to buy music, but noticed so many of the CD's in his own collection selling on ebay for a lot more than what he paid. So next time he went to his local record stores (All Books & Records, Uncle Sam's, Larry's Records, CD Heaven, etc.) - which typically happened a few times a week anyway because he is a music addict - he bought some things he thought others might be interested in, and gave them a whirl on the world wide web.
After one of them (a Whitney Houston CD single from the UK) sold for $110, Tony was hooked.
(Since Tony is actually typing this, he's going to stop referring to himself as "he" now, if you don't mind. It feels a little crazy.)
The name "We Got The Beats" was meant as both a hint that we focused on "the beats," i.e. dance, R&B, hip-hop - and a nod to another favorite/specialty: 80's music. Plus there was no availability for a website called "The Beat" or "The Beats," which were the original ideas. (Ha!) I think that was for the best. Our name can get stuck in your head...
After what seemed like a lifetime in retail management and customer service up in New Jersey, and then a few years tending bar in Florida, I packed up whatever fit in the van and spent nearly four years traveling around the USA (with my cat) in search of great music you just can't find at your local Big Box Mart. Selling much of it on ebay along the way covered expenses (keeping my faves for myself, of course.)
That trip was a blast! I found some great stuff, and even met some of my ebay customers and other sellers. I had the best time (and best finds) in Vegas, Memphis, Detroit, L.A., Austin, Pittsburgh, and Nashville. I was able to go to nine Mariah Carey concerts from coast to coast (and met her in Philly!) And I even got to go to the Grammy Awards that year. THAT was wild. (Prince, Sting, White Stripes, P-Funk with Earth, Wind & Fire...) Throw in visits to the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame and the Motown Museum, and it was a very music-oriented odyssey. Our story (and reputation) got around, and kitty and I were honored to be featured in a book called "eBay Powerseller Secrets" (Schep/Schep) and featured or mentioned in three other eBay books.
After settling back down in Florida in 2005, what had been a strictly online business for a dozen years or so finally translated into a "real live" record store on Dixie Highway in Oakland Park in 2010. This was a realization of a lifelong aspiration. I tried to take what I liked and didn't like about all the music stores I'd visited all over the country, throw in a little funk and glam, plus my years of experience in retail, and create the ultimate destination for dance music & more in South Florida.
Initially, I took a lot of music I love that tends to be marginalized in local record stores - dance music, disco, freestyle, remixes, R&B, hip-hop, and especially CD singles (LOVE!) and 12" vinyl singles (LOVE!) - and put those front and center with lots and lots of selection. We maintain the lowest prices in town and are even competitive with Amazon.
Eventually we outgrew the Oakland Park store, and closed it for good on Christmas Eve, 2013. On Feb 1, 2014, we opened at our new, improved location - with (finally) a dedicated rock section, and plans to expand even further in the future. Within the first year, we did, taking over the unit next-door as well, doubling our size to about 2,000 sq ft, and enabling us to have a "dance & soul side" and a "rock & hip-hop side."
The business has evolved much more into vinyl than CD's, but we still love and carry a nice selection of CD's - including lots of CD singles (with remixes woo hoo!)
Our rock department continued to expand, and as we learn more and more from our customers, we have gone beyond our mainstream top-40 rock roots and now stock a solid selection of hard rock/heavy metal, modern rock, punk, etc.
Our Fort Lauderdale store is probably still best known for our 12" singles collection - we carry thousands of them at a time and regularly get new collections from DJ's and collectors. But fully half the store is rock music now.
In 2017, just after Thanksgiving, we opened our second location in Lauderhill. I knew this place was magic the moment I walked in. It's in the same plaza (just a few doors down) from where Uncle Sam's used to be, and right next to Tate's Comics & Toys and a great Tattoo parlor (and what I'd later learn is a little slice of Heaven - Shell's Kava Bar - love it!)
We built this one out with a slightly different flavor, while maintaining our brand. We still have more 12" than the average indie record store, but not as much as our East side store had. We went deeper catalog on metal and jazz, a big selection of hip hop, and are increasing punk as we go.
The Lauderhill store was an instant hit! It continues to grow and amaze. Despite being about the same 2,000 square feet as the Fort Lauderdale store, there's no wall down the middle, which made for a much more open feel, room for a band, etc. Plus there's an awesome upstairs loft where you can hang and play records with your friends, have a kava or a soda, etc.
As the Fort Lauderdale building filled up and so did the parking lot, we realized we were out of room. Folks were saying, "You must be doing great, the parking lot is always full!" But, no, we were sharing 13 spots with 10 other tenants. There was no math where that works. In addition, we saw the success of the Lauderhill store with good (and relevant) neighbor businesses, and a nice wide-open space. So we set out to find a new space on "the East side" with plenty of parking, relevant neighbors, a wide-open space, and it couldn't hurt to be on a main drag with a little history to boot.
Our new Oakland Park location has all those bases covered. There are well over a hundred (shared) parking spots. There's an awesome craft beer bar called Fat Tap. We're already working on Vinyl Wednesdays with them at their place. There's a restaurant moving in, a place to get an excellent hair cut, and it's on Oakland Park Blvd, but "set back" in a big, double-shopping center off of 8th Terrace, so you're in a nice, quiet lot, not having cars whiz by you every second. We love it. We think the floor plan works; we still kept our signature huge DJ and dance section, but still had enough room to expand all the rock genres considerably.
We run no-attitude stores. Listen to what you love, no judgment. If we carry it, it's awesome. Our staff is helpful and customer-service oriented (not like movies you see about record stores LOL.)
We're very excited about where things are heading and vinyl blowing up, and appreciate all the support from the South Florida community!
Hope to see ya soon.
Thanks so much - we appreciate ya!
We Got The Beats Record Store
840 E Oakland Park Blvd, Suite #118
Oakland Park FL 33334
We Got The Beats (Too)
4588 N. University Drive
Lauderhill FL 33351
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