After two years of managing three branches of Guestroom Records, co-owners Justin Sowers and Travis Searle will close the independent record store’s third location in downtown Oklahoma City on Sept. 7, they announced today on Guestroom’s Facebook page.
With the closing of the downtown OKC store, they will shift their focus to opening a new storefront at 1806 Frankfort Ave in Louisville, Ky. The new Louisville store is set to open in early October.
Sowers and Searle note in the Facebook post that opening the Bricktown location has been an exciting venture for the store, putting records in prime viewing for thousands of visitors to the downtown area and serving the needs of students and faculty at the Academy of Contemporary Music at UCO where the Bricktown store has been housed.
“In 2011, record buyers and music media were mourning the closing of some fantastic and iconic stores, but Guestroom gained national attention for opening this third location and helping to keep the tradition of independent record stores a vital part of our communities,” says Will Muir, manager of Guestroom Bricktown, in the Facebook post. “More importantly, the Bricktown location has come to serve the needs of many of our regular customers who live and work in the downtown area.”
While opening the Bricktown location, Searle had been contemplating a move from the Norman/OKC area with his partner, a former professor at the University of Oklahoma. After several years of trying to balance the search for an academic position, with the best environment for Guestroom growth, the two decided that focusing on a new Guestroom location made the most sense. Louisville soon became the focus of this search.
“Louisville is a town that has a thriving local business community, a great local music culture, and good community of vinyl purveyors already at work,” said Searle in the post. “We are honored to join them and to be in a state that I have long thought of as a second home.”
Sowers agreed: “Louisville is a great city, and I’m excited for Guestroom to be a part of it.”
Both the Norman and Oklahoma City branches of Guestroom Records will continue operating as usual, with Sowers at the helm of Oklahoma City operations and Muir moving from the Bricktown location to manage the Norman store. Guestroom Norman/OKC also is preparing for an exciting number of events this spring to celebrate Guestroom’s 10th anniversary.