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Best of Olympia 2019: Rainy Day Records

Readers' Pick: Best Record Store

Rainy Day Records is an essential stop for Olympia music fans. (Credit: Facebook)

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There are few better ways to while away an afternoon than by taking a stroll through a good record store, discovering new music and talking shop with vinyl aficionados. Thankfully, this pastime has made a roaring comeback in the past few years with the popularity of records somewhat counterintuitively skyrocketing, even as the consumption of digital media is at an all-time high. Because vinyl went through its period in the wilderness, many people's collections ended up getting sold off, making the act of digging through crates at record stores a potentially revelatory experience -- albums lost to the sands of time have the possibility of being unearthed.

Olympia music fans are a discerning lot and, though it may not have a ton of competition in the city, Rainy Day Records getting their seal of approval by being voted Best Record Store should be taken as the honor that it is. Rainy Day General Manager Adam Hardaway spoke to us about what makes this record shop special.

"We've been around for 46 years," said Hardaway. "Our customers have grown up with us, and people seem to be nostalgic for Rainy Day and loyal to what our store represents to them, and I think that inspires some of our popularity, as does the current insatiable hunger for records. ... Rainy Day is more of a small-town general store, and our goal is to carry the widest variety of music and movies that we can fit into our space, and to have good deals! We want everyone who walks in to be able to find something for a good price that will make their life a little bit better, even if it's just a dollar bin CD or a postcard."

When asked about the allure of vinyl, Hardaway answers thoughtfully.

"What originally drew me to records, and what I still like about them, is that they age every time they are played, and they decay with use, like living things do," said Hardaway. "A record's history becomes part of its sound, and records carry people's experiences with them. ... Everyone can listen to pretty much anything on their phone for almost free, but that gets kind of empty and boring. Music is a really big part of a lot of people's lives and identities, and building a record collection can help ground you to a sense of who you are."

Rainy Day Records, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-6 p.m., Sunday, 301 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia, 360.357.4755,

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