BILLINGS – Cameron Records, located at 1440 Central Avenue, held a grand opening Saturday with about 200 people coming through the door.
T.J. Goodwin and Andy Brown own Cameron Records. The two used to run getitonvinyl.com, a company that promoted independent record stores selling physical music. They would travel the country buying and re-selling vinyl records. In their travels, they would talk to record store owners and ask how they were surviving in the age of digital, streaming music.
After they stumbled upon a large collection for sale, they decided to buy it up and open a record store in Billings.
“We just kind of looked at each other and said you know what, we know how to do this. Let’s open a record store,” Goodwin said.
“We decided to chase the dream,” Brown said. “The wives were on board. So we jumped in with both feet.”
Cameron Records isn’t just a record store. The store is also the home of the Cameron Records community stage, a performance space that is open to everyone.
“It is a stage for really any artist,” Brown said. “We’re looking at local artists in the Billings area; this stage will always be open for you to perform.”
“And not just bands,” Goodwin said. “Dance groups, comedians, this stage belongs to you.”
“Even if you want to read poetry to us, this stage is open for everybody,” Brown added.
Goodwin says there’s something about visiting a record store that you can’t get anywhere else.
“You can discover music just about anywhere and you can buy it just about anywhere,” Goodwin said. “But nothing compares to going into a record store and hearing something on a system that maybe you haven’t heard before. Or buying a record because of an album cover or the art that is on there.”
Additionally, Cameron Records doubles as a hang out destination with free WI-FI and a lounge area.
The owners say that operating a record store is all about the community.
“It’s a social experience that’s missing in today’s time,” Brown said. “You get to meet new people and share music and talk about music with strangers. It’s just a culmination of everything as far as bringing the community together. It’s the best possible way to get everyone involved.”
Cameron Records is located at 1440 Central Avenue and is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.