Glenn's Hometown News: An independent record store named Hot Poo - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Glenn's Hometown News: An independent record store named Hot Poop

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WALLA WALLA, WA - In this week's edition of Glenn's Hometown News, his travels took him to a town so nice they had to name it twice: Walla Walla. There, he discovered a music lover's paradise, right down on Main Street.

The origins of Walla Walla at its present site, began with its establishment as a fort by the U.S. Army in the mid-nineteenth century. Today, with a population of 31,000, it's well-known for its friendly people, sweet onions, and a host of vineyards and wineries. But what Glenn found most intriguing sat right in plain sight down on Main Street; a store with the most unusual name.

"It's a pun on pop music. Pop music that sells well is called hot pop. But we all know, that after a while, that nobody wants it."

Meet Jim McGuinn, the owner of Hot Poop. It's the largest independently-owned record store in the state of Washington. Hot Poop first opened its doors here in 1973, and even back then his customers weren't quite sure what to make of the name.

"They liked everything except the name," said McGuinn. "And these were young people, and these were my customers. Like, 'oh, I don't think the founding fathers are gonna go for it.'"

Fortunately for McGuinn, they did go for it, and continue to do so 44 years later. But in this day and age of convenience and downloading music digitally, Glenn asked him how his store is able to compete.

"I'm offering an alternative that you own, and um, it's not a condo, where uh, you know, a timeshare, it's not a timeshare. You actually have it. You can make a copy for your sister. You can resell it," said McGuinn.

The store sells everything for the music lover. For those Gen X-ers and baby boomers, it's a walk back in time to the music stores of yesterday. From CDs, to posters and shirts, to concert memorabilia, new and used vinyl records and even an 8-track. So why does the record - a format that traces its roots to Thomas Edison more than 120 years ago - have a place in the 21st century?

"One, for the quality. Two, for the tangible, tactile ownership," McGuinn said. "It's a real product that you can look at the other side, you can read the liner notes. And for me, it's really the sound."

Yes, that sound. What is it about the warm sound that comes from a record? There's got to be something to it, as vinyl record sales have hit a 25-year high, and have even outpaced digital sales for the first time ever last year. But no need to explain the success of vinyl to McGuinn.

"I get more joy out of listening than I ever did playing," he admitted.

And listen you may. There are listening stations scattered throughout the store to try before you buy. But this place is so much more than just a record store. If you come upstairs at Hot Poop, well, you'll find a hodge-podge of old hi-fi equipment, television sets, arcade games, and even musical instruments.

And although McGuinn's store has been around for more than four decades, he still keeps up on the latest trends in music.

"I like going to music festivals," he said. "Because of the smorgasbord of music."

So if you're looking for that vintage vinyl record or autographed picture, or even that rare musical instrument, McGuinn probably has it here, at the store with the unusual name. 

"I like being able to fulfill your needs. My customer's needs," McGuinn said. "Nothing makes me feel better than to say, 'I have it, here it is.'"

Now one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is that McGuinn's initial intention with the store was to make enough money to open his own nursery school, as he studied child development in college. But it certainly has turned out pretty well for him. 

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