Close this search box.

Log in

Top Stories

An avid music lover since childhood, owner Liz Cochran fulfilled a dream she’s been chasing for years by opening Stellar Records in Fort Myers.  

“I wanted to be able to be in the community and help people heal through music and give them a place to gather,” Cochran said. “Music is something that brings everyone together.” 

The woman-owned and operated record shop at 4204 Cleveland Ave. had its grand opening last weekend, which showcased the record revival trend seen over the years. 

Last year, vinyl sales beat out CDs for the first time since 1987, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. 

Considering the rise in technology since the origins of vinyl records, there was a time where vinyl was kept alive in niche spaces. 

“The ‘90s were a terrible time for vinyl up until about 2007,” Cochran said. “We had CDs, and then you had iTunes and pirating. So, there was 17 years where vinyl was kept alive by jazz fans and punk fans, not so much mainstream music.” 

The resurgence of records can be seen locally through shops similar to Stellar. From records and cassette tapes to vintage decor and retro toys, Stellar offers a unique and welcoming experience to all ages and walks of life. 

“My first customer on the grand opening was 16 years old,” Cochran said. “I’ve had people in here who left their independent living facility to come visit me. It’s literally across the board.” 

People of all ages were lined up to check out Stellar, as Cochran recounts a child on her grand opening listening to and then purchasing the vinyl record of the popular children’s animated series Bluey 

The 950-square-foot Audio-Technica-certified shop with bright colors and a bold retro accent wall might be smaller in size but still packs a big punch. 

While the shop currently has a heavy stock of rock and indie alternative records, there’s still a diverse selection of genres for new and used vinyl. 

“We need to broaden it a little bit more,” Cochran said. “I love jazz. I love blues and R&B. My sections for that aren’t as large as I’d want them to be.” 

Cochran is looking into buying more collections of specific genres, as well as growing the vintage section of the shop. Sitting at about 800 records in stock, a rearrangement of the space will soon add 800 more records to the inventory.  

The average price for a record at Stellar is around $25, with records in the bargain bin being $2.99 and the most expensive record in store being $125. 

Stellar also sells custom made guitars by Jeffrey Bernard and apparel with the Stellar Records logo on it, which is Cochran’s cat wearing a helmet designed by artist Brian Walsby. 

On top of everything offered in store, Cochran also has a monthly blog post called “Our Favorite Records” on the shop’s website. 

“Because I love music so much, I always try to carry something in here that is one of my favorites, so I can tell the customer everything that they need to know,” she said. 

Cochran grew up immersed in folk and classic rock music before gravitating toward indie alternative in high school, leading her to work at a record store.  

“Music is something that’s always been there for me, it’s been there for everybody,” she said. “Something I think is very important is to appreciate the music scene that’s around you.” 

Considering the power music holds to create community, Cochran makes sure to use her own platforms to support the local music scene. 

Every Thursday, the Stellar Records Instagram page posts music event shoutouts by including local show flyers in its post.   

“Without those people making music and playing out there, there’s no records and there’s no record stores,” Cochran said.  

From artists ABBA and Frank Zappa to modern artists Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo, Stellar Records welcomes devout record collectors and newcomers alike.  

“Some people are just casual listeners and then there’s people called audiophiles, who will sit with their headphones and just become immersed in the sound and the fidelity,” Cochran said. “They hear every pop and crackle. I love both of those people, because I kind of swing back and forth between what I want out of each record.” 

Records can be purchased in store or online, with the website using live inventory tracking. Stellar Records is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, closing at 5 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Tuesdays.  

Copyright 2024 Gulfshore Life Media, LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent.

Don't Miss

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Please note that article corrections should be submitted for grammar or syntax issues.

If you have other concerns about the content of this article, please submit a news tip.