How 2 Music Lovers Opened Cape Girardeau’s First Record Store & Lounge

Parker Bond (left) and Travis Tyson (right), co-owners of Spectrum Record Lounge

How 2 Music Lovers Opened Cape Girardeau’s First Record Store & Lounge

Spectrum Record Lounge is becoming a community cornerstone in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, as the city’s first and only record store, combining the owners’ love of music and meeting for a drink in one retro spot.

“It’s a nice symbiotic relationship between the record store and the bar,” says Travis Tyson, co-founder of Spectrum Record Lounge. “I think they definitely help each other out. It’s just a cool vibe in here, and people like hanging out.”

In recent years, Travis Tyson and Parker Bond, owners of Spectrum Record Lounge, have introduced live music, karaoke and seasonal cocktails, turning the location into more than just a place to find rare vinyl but also a fun third space to spend time in.

“It’s a brand new business,” Parker says. “We’re letting our customer base steer things to suit them better. It’s this machine that’s constantly changing, but it’s also constantly getting better and better.”

Even with the bar, they both feel like the heart of the store is the records, with the percentage of the record sales being higher than the two music enthusiasts expected.

They believe vinyl lovers are drawn to the ritual of actively listening to music and also the joy of collecting records for the aesthetic appeal of the covers, whether it’s Taylor Swift or a death metal classic. Parker says there’s a reason why vinyl continues to captivate listeners.

“When you can sit down with the intent to go find the record on the shelf, pull it off the shelf, take it out the sleeve and put it on the turntable, it just makes you chill out for a second,” Parker says. “You can really immerse yourself.”

Parker Bond (left) and Travis Tyson (right), co-owners of Spectrum Record Lounge, peruse their record offerings
Parker Bond (left) and Travis Tyson (right), co-owners of Spectrum Record Lounge, peruse their record offerings.

Use what’s available

As first-time business owners, starting Spectrum Record Lounge was a big feat, but Parker and Travis sought assistance from the The Small Business Development Center at Southeast Missouri State University, which helped them get started with a business plan. 

The Entrepreneurial Center, funded by a federal grant, offers services that are available at many universities across the state. It provides a checklist covering everything from selecting a business type and conducting market research to creating a specific business plan.

“They’ll also explain how to structure your LLC and ownership if you’re in a partnership,” Parker says. “It’s an enormous wealth of information that I didn’t even know existed until we got into this.”

Clearing hurdles with Old Town Cape

Navigating city regulations was another hurdle. Travis and Parker needed a variance to the municipal code because a nearby church is only 190 feet away from their location, just short of the required 200-foot distance required for operating a bar.

The duo credit Old Town Cape Inc. in helping them connect with The Small Business Development Center to navigate that obstacle and also providing them with a grant to fund their awning.

“They are just huge supporters of what we do, honestly,” Parker says “We like them a lot.”

Old Town Cape is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the continued revitalization of downtown Cape Girardeau. As a fully accredited Main Street organization, Old Town Cape’s mission supports downtown Cape Girardeau’s small business community.

We often find that new business owners don’t know how to navigate issues and concerns related to the city of Cape,” says Liz Haynes, executive director of Old Town Cape.  “We serve as a resource to help advocate for the business owner or connect them with the appropriate contact or resource.”

Music lovers unite

Parker Bond (left) and Travis Tyson (right), co-owners of Spectrum Record Lounge, peruse their record offerings
Parker Bond (left) and Travis Tyson (right), leveraged the help they received from Old Town Cape to open their business.

The lounge’s vinyl collection is sourced through distributors and local collections from visitors.

“We’ve been at the mercy of society,” Travis says. “We’ve just been overloaded with record collections. It’s been great because we haven’t really had to go anywhere to seek it out.”

Travis and Parker are proud of the community of music lovers who come in regularly to enjoy the vibe of the store.

“People get excited to come to our store to buy records, and that they’d rather come here to get it than pre order it online is the coolest thing to me,” Travis says

The owners say that what keeps people coming back to Spectrum Record Lounge is the staff. 

“We have probably the greatest employees that you can imagine,” Travis says. “The people that work here are fantastic; everyone loves them.”

Filling a void in the community

The duo recommend to other new entrepreneurs to not go in blind and instead research and use the resources that you have in your community. MOSourceLink knows 650+ resources you can access across Missouri and in every community in the state.

“We probably would have still been asking questions,” Travis says. “So, using some local sources that are available, I think was a huge help to us.”

There’s also value in fulfilling a community need with your business, Parker says. He says he sees how even diversity within similar industries can enhance the appeal of an area.

“If you give a community something that they didn’t need and weren’t asking for, then it’s probably less likely to do well than if you were to try to fill a void in the community that you’re serving,” Parker says.

Travis’ advice for those looking to start a business is to just dive in and do it, with a plan, of course. He emphasized the importance of passion when creating a business idea. 

“Two parts of this business are things that Parker and I are both super passionate about,” he says, “and I think the customers can see that. Do something that you love.”

Get your free custom plan

If you’re looking for some business help of your own, reach out to us at MOSourceLink at 866-870-6500 or tell us what you need online, and we’ll craft your very own set of next steps and let you know which of Missouri’s 650+ business resources can help you, no matter if you’re just starting or looking to grow. It’s a free plan built just for you to help you take that first step or move you past that looming hurdle.

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