While most South Fork retailers spent the weekend before Independence Day gearing up for the busiest few days of the year, Craig Wright was doing that and more, as he moved his Innersleeve Records and its inventory of 15,000 items from Amagansett Square to a new space on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor.
It was a lot of work, accomplished over three days with the help of several good friends, but his opening on July 5 turned out to be “great timing,” Mr. Wright said.
He had initially hoped to open in Sag Harbor. “It’s really great that I ended up here,” he said. He shares the space with Simon Harrison, a real estate agent who has set up his own side project — a graffiti art gallery — in an upper level of the shop. Loyal customers have found him again, people walking on Long Wharf stop in, and an ice cream parlor next door brings in curious browsers.
The village’s “great late night scene,” with all of its different restaurants is good for his business, he said.
Over a week after the move, stacks of unopened boxes remained and the process of unpacking was yet to be completed. “Having trouble unpacking isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Mr. Wright said. “It means that business has been pretty successful.”
Mr. Wright has a part-time helper, but he basically manages and runs the store himself. In addition to buying and selling records, some of them very rare, Innersleeve carries used CDs for low prices and even sells cassette tapes to target people with older cars who want something to listen to. His motto, as it says on his business card, is “buy, sell, and trade.” In Amagansett, he sold record players, too, and he expects to have some in stock soon in Sag Harbor.
Mr. Wright, who lives in Springs with his wife and twin sons, grew up on the South Fork, spent his teenage summers working at the Long Island Sound music store on East Hampton’s Main Street, and eventually opened his own small record shop in San Francisco before moving back to the South Fork in the late 1990s.
Prior to opening Innersleeve in Amagansett last year, Mr. Wright’s business was almost exclusively online, buying and selling vinyl on eBay and Amazon, and in the process accumulating a considerable inventory. “Vinyls were in an upward trend and there was lots of hype about them,” he said.
He gets a “broad spectrum of customers of all ages,” he said, as two teenagers contentedly left the shop with records in hand. His customers break down into three categories: new vinyl buyers, people getting back into vinyl, or hardcore collectors. “There are an equal amount of people getting out of vinyl as there are getting in,” Mr. Wright said, “and that is the key to business.”