Gallatin city leaders have ordered that Randy’s Record Shop must be torn down within 90 days, but members of a local nonprofit say they are not giving up on their fight to save and restore the building for future generations.
The 3-2 decision by the Gallatin City Council to move forward with demolition came last week after officials with the Historic Randy’s Record Shop Foundation were unsuccessful in securing letters of commitment from donors for the estimated $1 million restoration project.
“It’s too late,” District 5 Councilman John D. Alexander said prior to the vote July 2. “The money is not there, and this council has bent over backwards to give you ample enough time to try to make an effort or get maybe two or three letters of intent from somebody. We haven’t had that, and we have an obligation to the citizens of Gallatin. If somebody… gets hurt, it’s our fault.”
City leaders declared the building dangerous last summer after learning its roof had collapsed.
While support braces were added last fall to an outer wall of the building along with a safety fence around the site, Gallatin Building Official Chuck Stuart told city leaders last month that the former record shop continues to deteriorate and is “still dangerous.”
Despite the vote to move forward with demolition, Gallatin resident Johnny Griffin believes there is still plenty of time to collect enough donations to save the former record shop from the wrecking ball.
“We haven’t given up,” Griffin said Monday. “They gave us 90 more days (to raise money).
“I think you’ll see some big changes in the next month.”
Tisha Borders, president of the Historic Randy’s Record Shop Foundation, told city leaders last week that while some money had been raised through a GoFundMe page online, many people have not made large donations because little work has been done on the site.
“I understand your concerns about the money,” Borders told city leaders last week. “If we could go in and remove the center buildings that are not relevant to the project, I guarantee you people would start giving. But, right now they see it as kind of a stalemate, and they don’t want to give.”
If Randy’s Record Shop is not demolished within 90 days, Gallatin City Attorney Susan High-McAuley said that the city would take over the project and complete the demolition work.
If the building is not saved, Borders said any remaining money the foundation has will be donated to another nonprofit.
Opened by Gallatin native and music business entrepreneur Randy Wood in 1944, Randy’s Record Shop grew in popularity to become the world’s largest mail-order record business of its time with approximately 500,000 records sold each year.
In the late 1940s, Wood also started Dot Records, which featured many popular artists including Johnny Maddox, Pat Boone, Barbara Mandrell, Ray Price and Tab Hunter.
Foundation officials hope to use private donations and grants to restore the building and turn it into a functioning record shop and museum to honor its late founder.
“I’m trying to save this for the City of Gallatin and for future generations,” Griffin said. “It’s such a part of music history that it needs to be preserved.”