What's Inside: America's Groove Record Store

Allow us to show you a little something different this time.  In this issue we’ll be featuring a business that just so happens to be my favorite retail business in town (besides Fresh Digs, of course).

The short of it:

Favorite item in the store:  My favorite item in my store is my vintage JVC VL-5 Turntable.  It’s the record player that started me on working and repairing them.  I bought it for $3 at a thrift store and put a couple hundred dollars into it, replacing most of the parts and making it awesome, it is also the record player that the store uses to play records.

What am I reading:  Mostly just articles about new and upcoming music, and online articles about aliens and UFOs.

What am I listening to:  I listen to a little bit of everything, but the bands I’ve really been into lately are Witchcraft, Graveyard, Holy Serpent, Hypnos, Uncle Acid, and King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard.

Best food in town:  I like to frequent the local restaurants, but my favorite food around is made by my wife Brianne, she is an unbelieveable cook, she keeps my belly full, she has an amazing talent and knows how to satisfy my picky eating habits.  : )

Favorite thing about Effingham:  My favorite thing about Effingham is the music scene.  There is such a wide range of musicians and styles of music here.  I think Effingham really has the potential to me a major music hub.  I often refer to it as a miniature Muscle Shoals. 

What do I want people to know about you:  I am passionate about music and realize that I am very blessed to be able to be the go to guy for people’s music needs here in Effingham.

The long of it:

This Saturday (April 22) is a big one for America’s Groove Record Store  – it’s their Re-Grand-Opening AND it’s National Record Store Day.  We hope this issue entices you to get in there and check it out.  With live music, giveaways, super top secret Record Store Day releases and the usual mix of retro and locally made goods it’s sure to be a whole lot of fun.   Plus owners Aaron and Bri will be there and they are awesome.

A couple of issues ago you were introduced to Aaron ‘America’ and Brianne Wilson when we showed you their vintage/retro home.  Remember that pic?  It was during the tour of his Beat Lab (more on that later) when Aaron said his goal was to expand his record shop.

The Aaron America and Brianne Wilson home. 

The Aaron America and Brianne Wilson home

Fast forward to now and here we are getting ready to celebrate his Re-Grand-Opening (I'd say that's an appropriate title) in honor of the aforementioned expansion.  And it just so happens to also be National Record Store Day, which apparently in the vinyl lover’s world is a big deal. 

First a little about his biz.  Aaron took the scary yet exhilarating leap into business ownership in February 2016 after he "was tired of working for the man" and he "either needed to open a store or rent a dumpster" because his collection of vintage memorabilia had gotten out of control.  

What planted a seed that a record store could work in Effingham came from vinyl record fairs he and his friends had at the American Legion and Joe Sipper's Cafe.  Those shows showed him there was a need for it and that need has far exceeded his expectations.  

America’s Groove is in the perfect location in the far north corridor of the Village Square Mall  in Effingham where he sells new and used records, CDs, audio equipment including record players plus retro toys and books, locally made art, incense, vintage clothes, games and more.  Aaron also buys and trades all manner of vintage memorabilia and audio equipment plus he does repairs .  And of course now in his expanded location he has the game and performance space.  

The following are some of my past America's Groove purchases: incense, those collectible dolls with the big heads that I can’t remember the name of (I got Uncle Rico, don’t ask), vintage kids’ books; a Creedence tape; Technotronic, The Killers, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Zac Brown, Lucinda Williams and many more CDs; candy cigarettes; a “Robert” name patch; Punky Brewster, Molly Ringwald and Strawberry Shortcake pins; Garbage Pail Kids stickers and I almost bought shirt with a man’s body complete with chest hair.  Aside from Fresh Digs, this is my go-to place for gifts…for myself and both kids and adults.  

Note that I’ve never purchased a record from the record store, so fear not you non-record-loving-people, he's got so much more than vinyl records.

Allow me to introduce you to America’s Groove…

America's Groove used to end at the red framed door up top and his office was from the red frame to the first green framed door.  He busted out a wall and did a LOT of work to get the space what it is now.

America's Groove used to end at the red framed door up top and his office was from the red frame to the first green framed door.  He busted out a wall and did a LOT of work to get the space what it is now.

These bins all hold new and used records and for Record Store Day he'll have loads of new vinyl - it was the biggest vinyl order he's ever made in fact.  Albums that are only released by record and music companies on National Record Store Day.  It works like this: they send out a list of the available records only to independent record stores, he orders what he wants and it's a crap shoot what they'll actually send him.  He doesn't know until he opens the box.  With some of the labels they'll only release 1000 records.  Kind of cool and exciting and it's the first time Effingham has been a part of it.

These bins all hold new and used records and for Record Store Day he'll have loads of new vinyl - it was the biggest vinyl order he's ever made in fact.  Albums that are only released by record and music companies on National Record Store Day.  It works like this: they send out a list of the available records only to independent record stores, he orders what he wants and it's a crap shoot what they'll actually send him.  He doesn't know until he opens the box.  With some of the labels they'll only release 1000 records.  Kind of cool and exciting and it's the first time Effingham has been a part of it.

Here's a peek at his new space.  The main features in this room for now are the arcade games and the stage.  He's planning on hosting musicians playing only original music, comedy shows, maybe hold music lessons and offer whatever he feels like the community needs to experience in this space.

Here's a peek at his new space.  The main features in this room for now are the arcade games and the stage.  He's planning on hosting musicians playing only original music, comedy shows, maybe hold music lessons and offer whatever he feels like the community needs to experience in this space.

Why yes that is Donald Trump toilet paper.  And this is why I love his shop - you just never know what you're going to find.  I mean, we are talking about a man who created an image of himself playing the guitar superimposed over the Vatican.  I'll never get over that Facebook post.

Why yes that is Donald Trump toilet paper.  And this is why I love his shop - you just never know what you're going to find.  I mean, we are talking about a man who created an image of himself playing the guitar superimposed over the Vatican.  I'll never get over that Facebook post.

Pretty sure I saw him cringe when we told him we wanted to do this.  But he was a good sport and even pulled out the Krokus album for himself.

Pretty sure I saw him cringe when we told him we wanted to do this.  But he was a good sport and even pulled out the Krokus album for himself.

As you can see, he's got it all.  Vintage video games, CDs, cassette tapes, electronics and gear.

As you can see, he's got it all.  Vintage video games, CDs, cassette tapes, electronics and gear.

Is it wrong of me to confess that I have things in there on consignment?  Things that I don't think would appeal to fresh digs customers - stuff like men's clothes and whatnot..  

Is it wrong of me to confess that I have things in there on consignment?  Things that I don't think would appeal to fresh digs customers - stuff like men's clothes and whatnot..  

Aaron does a great job of displaying everything.  Growing up we had an orange push-button phone like the one on the bench.  : )

Aaron does a great job of displaying everything.  Growing up we had an orange push-button phone like the one on the bench.  : )

Games and stuff and things.  Guy stuff, really.

Games and stuff and things.  Guy stuff, really.

This is pretty exciting for all you Star Wars and vinyl fans.  Might be a great gateway table for young people, too.  Aaron can only start selling these Star Wars turntables on Record Store Day.  So many rules, but so exciting! 

This is pretty exciting for all you Star Wars and vinyl fans.  Might be a great gateway table for young people, too.  Aaron can only start selling these Star Wars turntables on Record Store Day.  So many rules, but so exciting! 

Here's Aaron America before he knocked out the wall for the new addition.  This is also when he was growing his ZZ Top beard.  You may not recognize him now that he's sporting his spring style.

Here's Aaron America before he knocked out the wall for the new addition.  This is also when he was growing his ZZ Top beard.  You may not recognize him now that he's sporting his spring style.

This concludes the America's Groove portion of the issue, keep scrolling for a behind the scenes look at Aaron's private space at home.  

There's an old 1930s building in his backyard, his man cave if you will, and he calls it The Beat Lab.  It's a practice space for his band Position 12, a screen printing operation and all around workshop.  The next time you see him ask him about the fire that burned through this structure five years ago.  

Ever resourceful as he is, Bath & Body Works candle packaging provides soundproofing on his walls.  Here are Bri (far right) and I listening to him talk about the fire.  Note Bri's fabulous felted wool slippers handmade by her sister, Amber.

Ever resourceful as he is, Bath & Body Works candle packaging provides soundproofing on his walls.  Here are Bri (far right) and I listening to him talk about the fire.  Note Bri's fabulous felted wool slippers handmade by her sister, Amber.

The man in his natural habitat sporting a thrift store find.

The man in his natural habitat sporting a thrift store find.

Aaron's gear.  

Aaron's gear.  

More guy stuff.

More guy stuff.

This is a little window into Aaron's musical life - posters for his band Position 12? and Gibby Rock Fest passes for the rock concerts he put on for so many years.

This is a little window into Aaron's musical life - posters for his band Position 12? and Gibby Rock Fest passes for the rock concerts he put on for so many years.

This is just a taste of both America’s Groove and the man behind it.  Go see it and him in person this weekend and show your support for local folk who put it all on the line to follow a passion and offer something no box store ever could. 


About the Photographer:  Tytia Habing is an award-winning and highly regarded fine art, family and commercial photographer based in the Effingham, Illinois area.  You can see her work at tytiahabingphotography.com.  

About the Writer:  Joanna Davies is co-owner of Fresh Digs in Effingham, IL.  Fresh Digs sources locally, globally and uniquely made home goods and gifts and displays them in a delightful shopping experience.  We also like to get people together.  Join us.  


If you're interested in having a feature created for your own business contact Joanna at joanna@freshdigsinc.com for more info.