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Underdog is doubling the size of its downtown store & seeks your help further realizing our vision. PS It includes beer.
77 backers pledged $6,614 to help bring this project to life.

About

$6,614

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On November 1, 2013, less than a month after announcing its imminent existence online, Underdog Records opened its doors at 3443 Robinhood Road.  It began from nothing but a lifelong dream to operate my own record store and 7 1/2 years of experience in music retail.  In September 2014 the business relocated to Burke Street in downtown Winston-Salem, moving into the same neighborhood where I originally envisioned the store many years before but in doing so sacrificed size for location.

Now, in July 2015, Underdog is presented with an exciting opportunity to more than double its size -- taking the store all the way to the corner of Burke & Brookstown -- which would make it larger than even the original store on Robinhood Road, and is asking for your kind support to help take the store to the next level.

Expanded Storefront
Expanded Storefront

Burke Street is in the process of being revitalized, just like other divisions of downtown i.e. The Innovation Quarter, Liberty Street, and before that Trade Street and 4th Street. There are several developments planned in our immediate area, and potential re-zoning in the works as well, which would permit more restaurants and bars to open in our vicinity.  Underdog Records doesn't just want to reap the benefits of such development, it wants to be a benefactor.

Purely on the surface, this expansion will allow Underdog to more than double the size of its current retail location, which will permit us to also more than double our inventory as well as diversify our reach, expanding into such peripherals as music books & magazines, posters, stickers, patches, memorabilia, and more, not to mention more used stereo equipment. Underdog will also begin carrying new selections of turntables, high quality headphones, and related products.

The record bins in Underdog have been full for awhile and stock is rotated in daily as other sells.  We have thousands of albums in storage to enter into inventory upon expanding.  Our new LP selection has more than doubled since February and Underdog seeks to continue to grow that selection exponentially with this additional space while also transforming the reach of our new selection with more imports, indie releases, and genres including a much larger soul/funk section (a personal favorite) as well as jazz, afrobeat, reggae, and blues.

A record store should be a place where you can lose an entire afternoon, and that's still our goal.

But there is a great deal more inherent with the expansion as well, including a return to hosting regular in-store performances such as we did at our Robinhood location.

Unfortunate Gentlemen In-Store
Unfortunate Gentlemen In-Store

In 2014, we had in-store performances by such favorite local bands as Aquatic Ceremony, Unfortunate Gentlemen, and Cactus Black, the latter of which also released an exclusive 7" in accordance with the performance.  After relocating to Burke Street, our smaller space prevented us from having full-band performances.  This expansion will allow us to once again have a performance space in the front corner of our store, and part of the funds we seek to raise will go toward purchasing a PA system for the store, which will also free us to host touring acts passing through the area.

Beer
Beer

Something else Underdog customers have asked me for countless times is beer.  Underdog strives to provide a relaxed atmosphere and many of our customers like to cruise the bins, grab a stack of vinyl, and take a seat on the couch by one of our two listening stations for some exploration.  Implementing beer in the store, however, is not inexpensive. To do it right we'll need a cooler for the bottles & cans, and a kegerator for the couple drafts we'd like to have on hand, which will cost us as much as $1500-$2000 combined.  If we are able to afford the supplies necessary to make a beer license prudent, we'll also bring Vinyl Night into Underdog Records as well as other events, such as Game Nights, and possibly hosting folks for baseball-related events (something I feel is drastically lacking in Winston-Salem; a work in progress), seminars/talks by folks in the industry, and other such events. As part of the expansion Underdog is also going to add more couches to our store with additional listening stations for more places to simply lounge on an afternoon or evening.

A Peek Inside.
A Peek Inside.

There are improvements to be done to the new space as well, including painting, lighting, the construction of shelving & more record bins, and some flooring. I want to give Underdog a personality that is tangible the moment you enter the shop, something that's lacked a bit since taking over the Burke Street location, but the property owner has approved painting the space after extending the lease (something she resisted the first year), so it's time to truly make the shop our own.

What else will the expansion allow?  Underdog plans to devote an entire room in the new space to stereo equipment.  Vinyl collectors are often looking for the perfect combination of turntable, amplifier, and speaker to maximize their listening experience.  Come in and try out Underdog's used turntables, receivers, and speakers, and buy/trade for them individually or in combination. Don't just take my word for it, come by and give everything a test run, and mix & match at your leisure.

Underdog doesn't just envision being a better record store than it is now. It wants to be your favorite record store in town, a familiar name throughout the state, and a name recognizable to vinyl collectors around the country.  This spring Underdog was voted the best record store in the Triad by readers of the Triad City Beat.  The more the Underdog name becomes familiar, the more folks looking to sell used albums will find out about us as well, meaning the better our inventory becomes.  There is a reason stores such as Amoeba, Waterloo, Bull Moose, Redscroll, etc. seem to have an influx of amazing used vinyl at all times.  And the more success the store realizes, the more opportunities I'll have to get on the road and dig out records from other regions and not just our immediate area, something I've considered an integral part of the shop since before its inception.

For all the years I dreamed of having my own record shop, it was that: a dream.  "Unrealistic," I told myself, but never gave up on it.  When it came to fruition in late 2013, I joked maybe I'd have one good year.  I am so unbelievably thankful to everyone who has patronized Underdog, whether you come by once every three or four months, or to those who come by every week, even if purely to talk, hang out, and share a laugh.  Underdog is truly an independent record shop by every definition of the word, and your support means everything.  We have traveled a greater distance in our less than two years of existence than I could have imagined, and am very excited about the prospect of taking it further still.  

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support of the shop, and for your contribution if you see it fit.  The excitement and enthusiasm for our growth by the Underdog Family, our customers, lets us know we're on the right path.  Thank you!!

Risks and challenges

Upon successful funding of this project, the implementing of beer in the store will likely still take some time as forms must be approved by several different offices, suppliers arranged, and equipment procured. Even if the expanded store opens in September, which is the latest we hope for it to occur, the serving of beer in the store may not begin taking place until the fall or even winter.

The expansion of our inventory will also still be a gradual process as thousands of used albums cannot be processed in a month (almost every used album which enters inventory at Underdog is hand cleaned, which slows influx but greatly raises the quality). I am already pricing and storing albums for the extra space but it may take 2-3 months after opening the expanded space before all additional record bins are fully stocked, and expanding our new inventory will be an on-going process.

If, on the other hand, we're able to raise well beyond our goal, all extra funds will be used to more quickly expand our new inventory as well as to explore other means of growth for the shop.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    You are guaranteed unlimited hugs & belly rubs with shop dog Madge, and my own undying gratitude for your contribution to the shop's goal.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A limited edition Underdog Records koozie commemorating this campaign & unlimited hugs + belly rubs with shop dog Madge.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    An Underdog Records tote bag + Underdog Records koozie & unlimited hugs + belly rubs with shop dog Madge.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    An Underdog Records slipmat + Underdog Records koozie & unlimited hugs + belly rubs with shop dog Madge.

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    Pledge $22 or more About $22

    An Underdog Records tote bag + slipmat + koozie & unlimited hugs + belly rubs with shop dog Madge

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    An Underdog Records tee shirt exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign celebrating you as a supporter of the Underdog. Will also include an Underdog Records koozie & unlimited hugs + belly rubs with shop dog Madge.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Everything listed above. An Underdog Records koozie, slipmat, tote bag, and t-shirt exclusive to this fundraising campaign, as well as unlimited hugs and belly rubs with Madge the shop dog.

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    Pledge $48 or more About $48

    An Underdog Records wooden LP crate in the spirit of the old Peaches crates! Fits your 12" records with the Underdog logo emblazoned on each side. Also comes with an Underdog Records koozie, tote bag, & unlimited hugs + belly rubs with shop dog Madge.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    With the introduction of services such as Pandora, Spotify, & Apple Music, the art of the mixtape is becoming a dinosaur, but I used to live by them and would make them for most any occasion, whether it was a specific road trip, an out of town visitor, or maybe just one very particular mood. Contribute at this level and I will make you a personalized mixtape designed for you and you only. It will be provided as a burned CDR of approximately 80 minutes. This level also receives a free Underdog Records tote bag, t-shirt, slipmat + koozie ($45 value).

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Underdog Records hand-cleans almost every used album that goes into our bins and we're often credited with having the cleanest used albums in the area. We mix our own solution in-house and we'd be happy to spread the smooth sound to your home collection. Contribute at this level and bring your personal cleaner bottle to the shop any time you're running low for a free refill of our special homemade LP cleaning solution. Good for life. Donate at this level and also receive the Underdog Records koozie, slipmat, t-shirt, and tote bag ($45 value). That's like paying only $35 for the cleaning solution for life, which will outlive its cost after only a handful of refills (1.25 oz of Discwasher solution lists for $7.99).

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    The complete set of Underdog Records branded items: you will receive the koozie, slipmat, tote bag, t-shirt exclusive to this campaign, and the Underdog Records crate in the style of the old Peaches crates with Underdog's logo on the outside.

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    One of the chief reasons for Underdog's expansions is to once again host in-store performances by artists both local and touring. Winston-Salem's own UNFORTUNATE GENTLEMEN have long been supporters of Underdog Records and will perform a special in-store later this year in celebration of Underdog's expansion. Contribute at this level and be guaranteed entrance to this special performance. You will also be guaranteed any special bonuses which go along with this performance, which will include the minimum of a tee shirt produced only for this show which will feature both Unfortunate Gentlemen and Underdog Records in its design. Only enough shirts will be produced to fulfill those who contribute at this level + enough for bandmates and myself. If the show is recorded (audio and/or video), you will also receive copies of these. Plus an Underdog Records koozie + slipmat + tote bag, plus you will receive the custom mix tape ($65 tier). We may have other special items for that evening as well, which will just have to be a surprise.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Welcome to the ultra-exclusive Underdog Records Club. At this level you will receive a lifetime discount at Underdog Records on everything sold at the store. 10% off all new + used vinyl, 50% off all $1 LPs, 10% off all accessories (cleaning solution, dry brushes, & the like), 8% off all used stereo equipment, and 5% off all new stereo equipment. You will also receive an Underdog Records t-shirt, slipmat, koozie, and tote bag ($45 value), as well as the $75 level of free cleaning solution refill for life.

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    Pledge $325 or more About $325

    Underdog will handpick for you one new LP each month for one calendar year (January-December 2016), which you will receive for free. Some LPs will be new releases that month, others may be previously released or reissues. If it is an LP you already own or do not want, you will have one veto per month, in which case we'll select a second LP for you. Some month's LPs may have a list of $18.99 while others may be $30+. Customers outside the Winston-Salem area will pay a one-time $48 shipping charge, which will cover the entire 12 months' worth of LPs. Everyone who contributes at this level will also receive the exclusive t-shirt, Underdog koozie, slipmat, and tote bag, plus the Underdog Records crate in the style of the old Peaches crates, all of which would normally be $75.

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    Pledge $575 or more About $575

    Combine the above two tiers. The Underdog Records Club with storewide discount and the 1 new LP per month for the year of 2016. You will also receive an Underdog Records t-shirt, slipmat, tote bag, and koozie.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Each year when March comes around and Record Store Day rumors start swirling, folks begin plotting how early they're willing to camp out for the titles they most desire. If you donate to Underdog Records at this level, we'll take the guesswork out of it. Only 3 are available at this price, and if you donate at this level, you will be allowed to enter Underdog Records with the first group of customers. (You MUST check in no less than 30 minutes before the opening of the doors to redeem! If you walk up at 1 minute till opening, God help you.) You will not be first in line but allowed to enter behind the first 5-10 patrons who had already been waiting outside the store for hours for their exclusive RSD titles. This is good for the following three years on both April's Record Store Day and November's Black Friday Record Store Day from 2016-2018. In addition to this perk, you will receive a personalized mixtape ($65 tier), free Underdog Records cleaning solution refill for life ($85 tier), as well as a tee shirt exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign, an Underdog tote bag, slipmat, koozie, and t-shirt. Plus you will be entered into the ultra-exclusive Underdog Records Club which gives you a lifetime discount on everything sold in the store ($250 tier, see above for details).

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    It's time to take your vinyl listening experience to the next level. If you donate $1500 to Underdog's 2015 expansion, we will reward you with a complete stereo system with headphones. You will receive a Music Hall MMF-2.2LE turntable ($500 value), GemTune X-1 Class-A tube amplifier ($700 value), Art DJPRE II phono pre-amp ($65 value), and LSTN Troubadour headphones ($150 value). That is a combined $1,415 value. You will also receive a free exclusive Underdog Records tee shirt only available to this Kickstarter campaign, Underdog Records koozie, slipmat, and tote bag. Not to mention free refill of your Underdog Records cleaning solution for life. Your records will have never sounded so good AND you'll have the pleasure of supporting Underdog Records!

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    Pledge $1,600 or more About $1,600

    This is the same as the tier above except instead of the LSTN Troubadour headphones, this reward comes with a Andrew Jones designed speakers, your choice of bookshelf or floor standing depending on the space you have at hand. You will also receive the Music Hall MMF-2.2 LE turntable, the GemTune X-1 Class-A tube amplifier, and the ART DJPRE II phono pre-amp, as well as the exclusive Underdog Records t-shirt, Underdog koozie, t-shirt, slipmat, and tote bag as well as the customized mixtape & Underdog LP cleaner refill for life.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    You are an angel and a true supporter of the Underdog. Here is what you will receive.

    1) One free copy of every new LP or 7" we take in on consignment from a local artist. We will also strive to get it signed for you by all or as many of the members as we can manage (with your permission, of course).

    2) You will receive a lifetime discount of 20% off all used LPs, 75% off all $1 LPs, and 10% off all new LPs.

    3) You will receive a free copy of any merchandising we create for the store, be it a new t-shirt design, a slipmat, koozie, pint glass, sticker, or something else we haven't yet imagined. All for life.

    4) Never pay a service fee on Ziggy's tickets, and each time they bring us free tickets we'll contact you first to see if you're in want.

    5) Enter Underdog on Record Store Day, both April and Black Friday, with the first crew of entrants, an exclusive right! Try not to brag.

    6) We'll gift you one new LP each month for the year 2016 based on what we think you would like. Some will be new releases, some will be reissues. You will receive one veto per month if it's an album you already own or know you don't care for.

    7) $1 off all draft beer in the store, forever and ever.

    8) A personalized mixtape via 80 minute CDR as often as you ask for one. Once a year? So be it. Once a month? You drive a hard bargain but I won't let down. A maximum of one per month, please, I have to sleep.

    9) Free refill on your Underdog Records LP cleaning solution for life.

    10) Admission to the exclusive UNFORTUNATE GENTLEMEN in-store performance as part of this expansion. See above for details.

    11) Attend Bring Your Own Vinyl Night at Underdog or any other host site and your 1st choice LP will always become next on the docket, regardless of how many other albums are in the queue. Impress us all with your album collection.

    12) A pair of LSTN Troubadour headphones ($150 value). You will not be disappointed and they are aesthetically pleasing to boot. You will also receive a GemTune X-1 Class-A tube amplifier, a $700 value, because every vinyl collection deserves a tube amp through which to travel.

    13) A copy of every show poster we receive from The Garage, Ziggy's, etc. to put up in our window/door. Cannot guarantee poster will not have tape and/or pin damage. You must request the poster prior to show date.

    14) Adding an album to our wish list? You automatically become #1 priority no matter how many other Underdog customers have previously requested the same used title.

    15) Receive a signed LP (or 7" or CD if that's all they have available) by any band/artist who performs in-store at Underdog Records, whether they be local or from afar.

    16) Receive the exclusive Underdog Records t-shirt, koozie, slipmat, and tote bag.

    17) The expanded Underdog Records will host a cornucopia of Underdog Records crates holding product. Customize one as your own! Submit your own endcap, which will be seen by everyone who enters Underdog. It will be used to customize the end of one of Underdog's product crates, same as Peaches used to do. Your design/image must be approved by Underdog. Advertisements of other local businesses are acceptable but anything lewd/questionable/controversial can be vetoed. Many families and children enter our store and we won't approve anything questionable to those parties.

    18) Do you like baseball as much as Underdog? Let's catch a game. Once each season for as long as Underdog is in business and you live in the region (or can make it in), Underdog will reserve a table in the Womble Carlyle section at BB&T Ballpark to catch the Winston-Salem Dash. Bring 1 friend or family member along with! These seats also come with free food, drinks, and up to four adult beverages (beer or wine) each. You pick the opposing team. Red Sox fan? We'll go see the Salem Red Sox. Kansas City Royals fan? How about the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

    19) Want to order a new LP not already in stock? All special orders will be sold to you at cost (+ freight in the case of our independent distributors, which is rarely more than $1 per item).

    20) Receive, once each month for life, a gift box with anywhere from 1-3 used albums I think you should own or give a listen. Will span all genres and eras but will always be things I either personally recommend or think you, specifically, would like.

    21) Once each quarter (or each season) suggest a beer we carry on either draft or by bottle/can and so long as we can get it, I'll make sure it's available in the store for a period.

    22) It is Underdog's dream to one day have our own record label, but we're still working toward that. Donate at this level and receive one free copy of any vinyl, LP or 7", Underdog releases for life. If you move away, I'll mail you one.

    23) Want to trade in some vinyl to Underdog for store credit? Receive a lifetime 25% bonus on your store credit offer.

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Funding period

- (30 days)