New record store opens up shop in Atascadero

Posted at 2:24 PM, May 28, 2018

Music lovers in northern San Luis Obispo County no longer have to drive south of the Cuesta Grade to get their vinyl record fix.

Traffic Records opened its doors in downtown Atascadero in mid-April.

Co-owner Manuel Barba says the response from the community has been amazing.

"People walk in here already happy about the fact that they’re walking into kind of an old-timey record store and they leave happier," he said. 

Traffic Records specializes in used vinyl records, but you’ll find some new stuff, too. Mostly from local artists.

But at a time when convenience is king and listening to your favorite music is as easy as tapping an app on your phone, why records?

"Records are far from convenient. They’re not very practical, they’re dusty, they’re big, they’re heavy, they’re bulky, they take up a lot of room, but for many of us, that investment’s worth it," Barba said.

"It’s not necessarily about the fact this is vinyl," he continued, picking up a record from the display case. "It’s about what’s contained in it and it’s getting people excited about the experience of putting records on and handling them and reading liner notes, you know, pulling out this Daryl Hall and John Oates and looking at who produced it and who played sax on it. You just don’t get that experience with the convenience and the ease and the accessibility of digital music."

It’s an experience, Barba says, that brings generations together.

"We have high school kids that come in, we have middle school kids that come in, we have kids that come in with their parents. It’s a really beautiful thing to see," he said. 

Barba is no stranger to the vinyl record scene. He also co-founded the SLO Record Swap. He’s now operating Traffic Records with partner Dawn Neill.

The store is located at 5870 Traffic Way in Atascadero. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Barba says plans for a grand opening celebration are in the works.