Gerry Williams has been selling records for 45 years. He has hosted record-breaking shows in Carboro for the past 18.
Williams held her most recent record breaking show Sunday at the Carrboro Century Center. Since 2004, the November event has been one of two annual Williams shows sponsored by the City of Carrboro.
“In 2004 there wasn’t a show like this in the Triangle and I thought, ‘Let’s do one here’ or if I could get the city to sponsor it for me,” Williams said.
Williams said he started his career selling records in 1977 when he opened a store in Washington, D.C., which he said held 200,000 records, mostly used.
These days, Williams said he doesn’t own any physical record stores. He has stated that all of his activities are done either online or through record shows, some of which he hosts.
He said the City of Carrboro gives him Century Center space for his events for free, helps him with promotions, and even pays him to host him.
These shows are an opportunity for people to buy and sell records, CDs and musical memorabilia, Williams said.
Neill McCormick is one such provider. He sells rock, jazz, funk, punk, rhythm and blues records. When he attends record shows, he says he enjoys talking to people about the kind of music they like the most.
“I just sold a 16-year-old a Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Aretha Franklin album,” McCormick said. “So it’s interesting to see the stuff that I listened to growing up that people still listen to and still find very vital.”
Another seller is Charlotte-based record dealer Greg Neal, who said he was good friends with Williams. Although his personal favorite records are the hits of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Neal said he brings anything that sells to the record shows.
“I try to bring a good variety because with college audiences you can always sell things that you might not sell at other shows – like classic or exotic records or jazz or something like that. “, Neal said.
Williams said that overall, classic rock music has always been popular. However, he says he’s noticed an increased interest in reggae and blues records. Personally, Williams said he enjoys listening to almost any type of record.
“Except for rap and opera, I listen to everything from classical to country, rock, jazz, everything,” Williams said.
Raleigh record collector David Haygood, who attended the show to add to his collection, said his favorite rock music, including U2, Queen and Elvis Presley.
Haygood added that he’s been collecting records for 50 years and enjoys coming to Williams’ show.
“It’s near my house and it brings in different vendors from Raleigh,” Haygood said.
For Hillsborough High School student Vivian Carey, the show’s biggest draws were its reasonable prices and the ease with which she could speak directly with record owners.
She said it was her first time attending a record show hosted by Williams. She added that she came because a record store owner near her home recommended Williams’ show.
“I asked the guy, ‘Where’s a good place to find more diverse options?'” Carey said. “He said I should come check it out.”
Williams said that over the past few years he has noticed more and more women and young people taking an interest in record collecting.
“When we started this in 2004 it was mostly a lot of old guys like me buying them,” he said. “And there was an occasional young man – a student, mostly male.”
By contrast, Williams said there were nearly equal numbers of men and women on her record shows today, including Sunday’s show.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused Williams to cancel three of his previous shows, he said attendance has been high at his most recent events.
His next record show at Carrboro Century Center will be on April 2.
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