This article was originally published in Community Impact Newspaper:
When John Aleman was looking for a location to open Piranha Records in September 2003, he said he found his current storefront with the help of one of I-35’s most notorious qualities—traffic.
“When we went to go look for a location … we took the first exit where traffic was backed up, and it still is,” Aleman said of his location right off the intersection of southbound I-35 and Hwy. 79. “It has worked well because over the years people come in and say, ‘Dude, traffic is bad out there, so I just thought I’d pull in.’ That’s why we’re here.”
Over the last 15 years Aleman said the store has evolved to meet the needs of the constantly changing music industry.
“At first it was mostly CDs, we still had vinyl but it just didn’t move much,” Aleman said. “Then everything started changing, and I started taking the CDs back to the warehouse and bringing the records from the warehouse to the store. It continues on a weekly or monthly basis of killing off certain sections [of the store]and making more vinyl sections.”
Aleman said that operating as a small business allows him more flexibility to change and meet the needs of his customers.
“You have to be able to change and listen. We can do certain things for the customer because we’re small,” Aleman said, adding that the ability to offer free parking is another advantage of the store’s size and location.
The aisles of Piranha Records are filled with countless CDs, DVDs and vinyl records ranging in genre from alternative rock to country to jazz to Tejano. Music aficionados can find new releases or used records in the crates at the store.
“The crate diggers—those are the people who dig through all of the records—they are usually going to find the best deals and rare finds, but other people only want to buy new records,” Aleman said. “Neither are wrong—it’s just a matter of what you want.”
Aleman said that while vinyl seems to be the non-digital medium of choice for music shoppers there are still many who enjoy CDs, and even cassette tapes are making a comeback.
“People have to enjoy their music,” Aleman said. “It doesn’t matter which format you have; just enjoy it.”