Independent record stores are increasingly harder to find. There are fewer and fewer places where cash-starved college students can buy and sell used CD’s and records. Luckily, the Record and Tape Exchange in Fairfax City isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The small store offers a variety of music in 20 different categories. The best selection of music at the store is the Rock/New Wave section, but whatever your taste in music you will be sure to find it here. Besides being able to get cash back for your used CD’s and LP’s, you can buy guaranteed CD’s for about half price. Also, there is a wide selection of guaranteed LP’s which are unavailable at other stores.

Record store owner Anton Grobani’s passion for music started right at home: both his parents were musicians. He collected records of all types of music when he was a teenager. He started the business as a part-time hobby and it grew into a full time operation.

The Fairfax City store which opened in 1988 was his third. He opened the first store in Annapolis in 1978 and then in College Park in 1982. Then he got clobbered by the Internet, CD burners and larger chain stores. He closed the College Park and Annapolis stores in the spring of 2001 when the leases ran out. According to Grobani, “at that time I had a lot of space in this (the Fairfax) store so I put all of my 15,000 CD’s into the Fairfax store as well as about 5,000 LP’s.” The lease for the Fairfax store expires in April of 2003. Grobani says that business has been steady since he increased the inventory. “If it continues then I’ll keep the store open.”

The Record and Tape Exchange has a decent section of local musicians. “The local LP section is basically Dischord. The local CD section is basically things that local musicians bring in to put on consignment,” explains Grobani. The wall in the front of the store is plastered with flyers advertising shows in the area as well as local bands looking for musicians. There is also a listening station so you can sample the music before you buy it.

According to Grobani the best thing about the Record and Tape Exchange is simple. “Price and selection, that’s all there is, plus a friendly, helpful staff.” The Record and Tape Exchange is located on Main St. in the Pickett Shopping Center next to Trader Joe’s, about two miles from the George Mason University campus.