Indie record store gets a new lease on life in a Forgottonia farm shed
Most people wouldn’t expect to find a record store on a farm off of a gravel road in Fulton County. That's why you may be surprised when there’s a sign for a local business called Shandi’s Music and More on E. Sinnett Chapel Road in rural Cuba.
Bob Long has owned and operated Shandi’s since its founding in 1999. The store used to be located in the nearby town of Canton, but had to close in 2016. After a hiatus, Long reopened Shandi’s this past August, with the store now located in a shed on his farm.
“It was a building that was on the farm, and we needed a place to open, and so we just decided to just go ahead and do it here,” Long said.
Long chose to reopen Shandi’s in the new location due to online demand from regular customers.
“People asked all the time, ‘hey is the store gonna reopen? We want some music,’” Long said, illustrating how his customers were willing to drive from anywhere to shop at the store, “Even when we were in Canton, a lot of my customers weren’t local, we had people from all over to shop with us.”
Looking through the aisles of shelves of music that line the store, Long points out sections of albums that contain music that has been unreleased since the '80s, or albums that are out of print. Long says a crucial part of why customers make the trip to Shandi’s is due in part to his store's specialization in carrying items that he says other record stores don’t stock.
“Whenever I’m on the road, I try to stop into record stores and see what’s going on, and through the years, I’ve watched them start declining,” Long said, explaining why he wanted Shandi’s to stand apart from other record stores, “there were great record stores, but now it’s hard to find anything that doesn’t just have the major artists.”
Long says the new location has garnered a positive response from customers, and he believes part of the reason is sitting right outside the shop.
“All the money we make goes to rescue animals,” Long said, referencing the collection of animals outside the shop that his farm has rescued, “so while you’re here shopping, you can check out some of the rescue animals we have.”
Stepping outside of the shop’s doors, we’re met with a section of stables and farm sheds that are home to the rescue animals, with dogs, roosters, geese, horses, a gang of turkeys, and a potbelly pig named hamilton. Long said the animal rescue started with rescuing dogs, but moved on to saving any animal he could take in.
“We’ve had iguanas, rabbits, snakes, anything people throw out we pick out, and try to find new homes for them,” Long said.
Shandi’s fanbase has even led to the store being represented on the local racetracks. A local race car with a custom paint job featuring the store’s logo on the hood has appeared recently at the Spoon River Speedway, driven by a friend of Long’s.
“It was a surprise to me,” Long said, recounting how his friend revealed the customized car, “he didn’t say anything, he just sent me a picture one day and my logo was on the car.”
Long says he thinks the reason why his logo was featured on the car was an act of gratitude from his friend, who knew Long through their involvement in a local MMA group, another hobby of Long’s.
Shandi’s Music and More is celebrating the grand reopening the weekend of October 13-15, with live music, special record collection sales and more. More information and store hours can be found on Shandi’s Facebook page.