published Monday, February 28th, 2011

Singing the blues

MOMENT

By Jenna Walker
  • photo
    Staff photo by Jenna Walker/Chattanooga Times Free Press Chad Bledsoe, the owner of Chad's Records on Vine Street, laughs in his shop where the walls are lined with vinyl albums including Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones and Kiss.

Each day, Chad Bledsoe sits at the front of his shop, surrounded by the faces of some of the greatest pioneers in music.

Buddy Holly, Elvis and others hide the white of the walls.

Bledsoe, the owner of Chad’s Records on the corner of Vine and Lindsay streets, carefully picks up a vinyl disc from the turntable and cleans the record before sliding it into its sleeve.

The store, on the edge of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus, overflows with new and used vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, even a few music-related goodies.

Yet the store remains largely empty aside from scattered visits from Bledsoe’s regulars.

“I sit here day after day,” said Bledsoe, 43. “I just don’t have an audience to play to.”

After Bledsoe purchased the store from its previous owner, he moved the shop to its current location.

“I thought that this area in 10 years would come alive,” Bledsoe said. “But it’s still a struggle.”

While the store sometimes has periods of heavier traffic, Bledsoe wants to find a location that will offer more consistency.

Regardless, Bledsoe said, his record shop has a market to cater to. He has been using online forums, including eBay, to sell records.

Bledsoe remains optimistic for the future of Chad’s Records, and he plans to continue his search for a better location.

“People are happy when they come here,” he said. “It can be a cool place. I just haven’t really found the spot.”

MOMENT is a weekly column by the Times Free Press photo staff that explores the seldom-told stories of our region. To hear this story in their own words, go to www.timesfreepress.com/moment.

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