Back in the mid-to-late 1970s, far from the New River Valley when I was just starting to listen to Bluegrass music, a friend of mine gave me record catalog from a store called County Sales. I thumbed through the catalog, made a few selections and sent my check off in the mail to County Sales in a town called Floyd Virginia. After that, each month when I would get a mailing from them and I had the money, I would make my careful selections, send my check and watch the mailbox for that big cardboard square that I knew would have the LPs inside that I just couldn’t live without! I can remember pouring over the list of records in those mailings and thinking about how wonderful a place County Sales must be and how neat it was that a store in Virginia was selling “our” bluegrass and old time music to people all over the world.
Fast forward to the year 1981- I was a student at Virginia Tech and I could frequently be found playing music with several of my fellow students. One Friday evening one of them asked me if I wanted to drive over to Floyd to go to the record store. My mind turned that over for a bit….. Floyd….record store……? Somehow up until that moment I had yet to realize that County Sales was literally in the next county over from me! The next day my friend and I drove to the town of Floyd and walked down an unlikely looking alley and found ourselves outside a door with a sign that read “County Sales”. I can remember that once inside, I felt a little overwhelmed and glad that I had thought to make a list of records to look for. Before long, Poor Richard’s Almanac, Bluegrass Cardinals, and Country Gazette records were sitting in my lap for the drive back to Blacksburg where my friend George and I sat and listened and planned our next trip to Floyd.
I am happy to say that County Sales is still in the same place, and still in business selling “our” music to people all around the world. This week (August 29 2010) there was a newspaper article featuring the store and telling a little of it’s story.
If you ever get the chance to visit, it’s worth the trip! If you can’t find the time to go there, they’d love to have you visit electronically too….County Sales website