In a content world with simply downloadable content, Armadillo Music is a breath of fresh, old-school air. With vinyl records, CDs, cassettes and a music selection as diverse as Davis himself, it’s no wonder this record store has been in the beats business for over 20 years.
The record store opened at 205 F St. in July 1996 and was owned by Mike and Helen Krell. Beyond just sharing their passion for music, the Krells have made it their mission to use music as a way to bring the community together. All walks of life were – and are – welcomed into a safe environment, and Armadillo Music quickly became woven into the fabric of Davis.
Sadly, Mike passed away suddenly in 2008. The loss was compounded by a litany of adversity, such as the recession, competing record stores, and the advent of digital music sharing platforms such as Napster. However, the record store endured everything as it did during the pandemic, with the unwavering support of the community. No one is more grateful than current co-owners, Josh Chapman and his wife Athena, the Krells’ daughter.
“In those few years after Mike passed away, our family came to that point either closing the store or my wife and I bought it from the trust it was held in. So we ended up buying it from the family trust and that’s when my wife and I took over as owners,” Chapman said. “It was a leap of faith, the records were slowly coming back and we knew there was a passion for the store and we weren’t ready to let it go. We decided to make it my full time job. and figuring out what we can do better, how we can grow and bring new things to the store, and we’ve been doing that for 10 years, my wife and I have been running it.
With Athena’s musical prowess combined with Chapman’s business savvy, this dynamic duo at the helm has kept Armadillo Music running like a vinyl record that doesn’t skip a beat. Like any vinyl record, however, it must be returned, and in 2016 Armadillo Music moved back to its current location at 207 F St.
“It’s about being there for people in the community, serving customers and building relationships. This is something that our staff excel at. We’re very lucky to have people who have been with us for a long time, like our manager, Paul Wilbur, who actually worked for the store that Armadillo bought out,” Chapman said of his staff. “We have a great group of people who work here and help keep the store running. Our employees have been the backbone of Armadillo.
Although ownership has changed, the Chapmans have championed the Krells’ mission to give back to the community. Over the years, Armadillo Music has sponsored a number of youth sports teams, community events like Davis Music Fest, school fundraisers and more. The store also hosts live music and offers novice musicians a safe and free place to try performing in front of an audience for the first time. All of this stemming from a love of music equal to that of the community.
“When you listen to a record, you really have to be engaged. Especially with vinyl, it forces people to be in the moment and to engage with this medium. In a world where everything is at your fingertips, this is something different for people. It’s an experience,” Chapman explained of the resurgence of vinyl records. “There’s also a big collecting side to it that really appealed to all generations. Like Paul, the director of Armadillo has always said, “Nobody ever asked you to come see their MP3 collection.”
To have fun with vinyl in their neighborhood, Armadillo Music is attending the “Vinyl Fair” on October 23 at the Senior Center in Davis. If you can’t wait that long, the store is at 207 F St. Or call them at 530-758-8058, visit their social media by searching @armadillomusic on Instagram and Facebook or their website armadillomusic.com.
— Contact Aaron Geerts at email@example.com.
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