A current joke going around a lot of cities in the Southeast is that every street intersection has 2 dollar stores, 1 mattress store and a church. Well, at the main floor intersection of the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall in downtown Gastonia, NC, you’ll find tons of vinyl, tons of vinyl, tons of vinyl, and …. wait for it… tons more vinyl!
Sleepy Poet opened about 3 years ago and is located in the Historic S.H. Kress Five & Dime store in Downtown Gastonia’s Art & Antique District. They now have all 3 levels filled with over 80 dealers, including 4 main vendors selling vinyl, other media, memorabilia, audio equipment and other related merchandise. They have had vinyl records from at least one main vendor since the day they first opened the doors and they continue to increase the amount of inventory overall constantly.
On our visit, we found that each had fresh arrivals and had restocked quickly after the Christmas rush. At Digging Thru The Crates you’ll find a full row of vinyl on both sides at the end of the main aisle, very-well organized into genres and with dividers for all the major artists. You’ll also find a significant area of “Budget vinyl” at $5 and Under as well as many crates starting at a dollar and sometimes even less! be sure to always check the “Latest Arrivals” and the wall shelves for other recent additions and goodies.
Around the corner from DTTC, you’ll find it’s impossible to miss the Chartreuse Vinyl booth! Highlighted by what we can only describe as neon lime green walls and dividers, you’ll find box after box of vinyl sorted by genre as well as stacks of cassettes, comic books, audio equipment, accessories, etc. Again be sure to hit the newest arrivals bin first and then carry on from there. Chartreuse is often a great booth to find an eclectic variety vs. the more straightforward classic rock fare, though they have a lot of it as well! Bonus: When you’re in Charlotte, they have a booth at the Sleepy Poet Mall there as well!
Across from there you’ll find the Hep Katz Antiques booth. This booth also seems to be constantly added to and is less organized which quite honestly makes it more fun sometimes to dig through! You’ll typically find a great selection of classic r&b, jazz and blues in addition to the typical genres. They have a crate just to showcase some more rare finds, as well as new arrivals and discounts. Note: they have at least 2 other locations in other spots in the region so catch up with them on Facebook to find out more about those.
Next door to Hep Katz you’ll find 1313 Vintage & Vinyl. This booth is the perfect cure for those couples where the guy is shopping for vinyl and the gal is looking for unique gifts, clothing, and memorabilia. Vinyl-wise, if you’re looking for heavy metal and similar genres, this is where you want to focus. On our visit we saw a ton including picture discs from metal heavyweights such as DIO, Iron Maiden and other records by a variety of classic metal, NWOBHM and hard rock acts. There was also a nice selection of grunge,other heavy rock acts, rap and current pop acts.
Beyond those main 4 vendors, you’ll find more on the lower level as well as the additional crate scattered in other vendor booths at any given time so be sure to peruse the entire area when possible.
A lot of times, vinyl enthusiasts will avoid shopping at Antique Stores/Malls because of the stereotypical idea that all you’ll find is a few Beatles’ albums that look like they were used as a chewtoy for a pit bull yet still have an $80 price tag on them. Luckily that’s definitely not the case at the Gastonia NC Sleepy Poet!
We found that all 4 main vendors seem to take a lot of pride in curating their inventory. Even when we found one that would be considered less than VG, it was marked as such as priced as such. Now, we didn’t check a lot of the dollar bin fare for condition, but we all know that it’s up to the digger to check those.
Overall, the pricing was very fair. There are some that seemed to jump out as being on the higher end, but they were matched by a bunch that we found that were great deals! It’s worth really browsing deep into the crates and seeing where the best deals are among them.
All 4 vendors are active on Social Media and seem very willing to hold items that they post about. Don’t forget you can always check with them about buying your collection or vinyl you’re ready to part with to make room for more!
Bottom Line: The Sleepy Poet in Gastonia has some real quality offerings when it comes to vinyl record selection, prices and condition! They have new competition with “Regular” record stores opening up in Gastonia and Cherryville recently, but they seem primed to maintain their place as a definite stop in when you’re hunting something new to spin!
They are located in Downtown Gastonia, just off of Highway 321 and only a mile or so from I-85 Exit 17!
And Here’s What We Picked Up…
- Morrissey “Low In High School”
2-LP de-luxe version – Sealed!
- “Say Anything” Soundtrack (Promo) – VG+/VG+
- Queen II (2008 Remaster) – NM/NM
- Peter Gabriel – VG+/VG
- Les Dudek “Ghost Town Parade” – VG+/VG+
- Whodini “Escape” – VG/VG
- Blue Angel – VG+/VG+ (EU)
- Bon Jovi “Live In Cleveland 1984” – Radio Broadcast – VG+/VG+
- Jethro Tull “Stand Up” – VG+/VG
- Dare “Out Of The Silence” VG+/VG-
- Van Morrison “Tupelo Honey” – VG-/VG-
- Extreme (Cassette)