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Budget Tapes & Records, Sumter Street across from The Horseshoe: 1980s   40 comments

Posted at 12:54 am in Uncategorized

Well, talking about The Record Bar brings another record store to mind, one I haven't thought about in years.

In the early 1980s, there was a record store just across from The Horseshoe, on Sumter Street. It was on the ground floor of the building next to the restaurant that was McDonalds, then Lizards Thicket and is now, I think, Tios. This particular building also had a Sandy's Hotdogs and a video arcade.

I liked to stop into the place from time to time since it was almost on campus, and was a shorter walk than going down to Five Points, and despite its small size, it had an interesting selection of music. I remember in particular, that they had an import copy of The Beach Boys "Stack O' Tracks" album, one of the oddest releases ever put out by a major rock group, and long out of print in the US at the time, and a Stan Kenton album I wanted. Despite the fact that I bought both, neither could have been hot sellers on a college campus in 1980..

I'm guessing that the owner must have been pretty plugged into the local music scene, because of one incident I remember in particular. I was browsing in the back of the store, and a guy walked in with a bunch of 45s. The owner put one on the turntable, and the store was filled with this incredible stripped down bass-heavy New Wave groove under a piercing vocal:

A-Bomb woke me up -- only thing alarming was the noise!

At the end, the guy who had brought the 45s in said he was still a little unhappy with the mix, but that they were going to go with it. I didn't know it at the time, but the guy with the 45s almost had to have been Jeff Calder and the song was "The A-Bomb Woke Me Up" off of the Swimming Pool Qs first album The Deep End. It was a little slice of history, and a band that should have been huge.

I'm pretty sure the store was gone by the mid 80s, and I can't even recall the name now. It was not New Clear Days. NCD was in the same building, but upstairs where this store was downstairs, and came in much later. Anyone remember what this place was called?

UPDATE 17 Sep 08: Originally this post was just titled "Record Store", but the consensus seems to be that it was "Budget Tapes & Records", and I have changed the post title accordingly. Thanks folks!

Written by ted on August 29th, 2008

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40 Responses to 'Budget Tapes & Records, Sumter Street across from The Horseshoe: 1980s'

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  1. I do remember the store but I can't think of the name either.

    Columbia had its share of non-chain record stores, back when they sold -- records! I think Manifest is the only long-lived success.

    There was School Kids Records in Five Points between Frank's Hot Dogs and Eckerd's, and there was a tiny place on Devine Street near BetMar that was like walking into an incense testing facility.

    There was a big store at the Y-shaped intersection of Millwood and House Streets, painted wild bright colors so you could see it a mile away. They advertised heavily. Was that Bumpsie's?

    There was Peaches on Harden St., of course, in what to me will always be the lawn & garden department of Sears, but that place just seemed to lack excitement or something.

    I'm still mad that they tore down a perfectly fine Zesto's to build that CD store on the corner of Harden and Blossom, and look where it got them -- now it's a phone store.


    29 Aug 08 at 7:05 am

  2. I'm glad you mentioned the Zesto's in five pts. Man I remember that but I couldn't recall exactly where it was. Now I can picture it clearly, thanks.

    MR Bill

    29 Aug 08 at 9:36 am

  3. Now that you have the photos up with this thread, another piece of history/trivia/nostalgia came to mind. In photo #1 and #2 if you pan the camera left just a little there is a parking lot where in 1976 there stood a tiny little building that was The Cyclist, owned and operated by Columbia's own Joe Azar.

    The building had been a little gas station -- you know those stations that looked like little houses from the 40s or even the 30s?

    I was carless, licenseless and broke, therefore into bikes in a big way, and Joe and I designed me a custom commuter bike that cost $400 -- an unheard of bunch of money for a bicycle in 1976 -- and he let me pay it off over about 6 months.

    FYI Joe's bike mechanic those days was Bruce Schultze, who now owns The Bohemian on Devine St.


    29 Aug 08 at 1:31 pm

  4. i believe it was Budget Tapes and Records.

    around the corner on S. Main was Tunes and Things.


    29 Aug 08 at 3:38 pm

  5. Budget Tapes & Records it was.

    in the beginning (late 60s),
    in the little cottage in the
    parking lot, was Sounds of Inc.
    Sounds of eventually expanded,
    moved to the right half of the
    building in the picture, that's
    when The Cyclist opened or
    moved into the cottage ...

    Sounds of carried bootlegs!
    what a revelation. around 1971
    or 72 (before i got a job at
    Music City), i'd walk up there
    a couple of times a week to
    spend my babysitting money ...

    about that time, the original
    owner sold it to a guy who
    bought into the Budget Tapes
    & Records franchise. they
    were all over the country at
    the time. my first stereo
    was the last store setup from
    Sounds of, i bought it 3rd
    hand from the guy who got it
    when the store changed hands.

    Music City was the screaming
    orange building at 2400
    Millwood Avenue. opened by
    George Buck Jr, who owned
    WCOS. "A block of records
    under one roof" the radio ads
    screamed ... well it was a
    big building, but a rather
    tiny city block.

    George sold the store to the
    WCOS bookkeeper's husband,
    Wayne Stiles. the upstairs
    was full of obsolete unused
    recording gear, Buck was a
    jazz collector, still owns

    with Wayne in charge, the
    main income was from pirate
    8track tapes, so when Goff
    left & i got hired, he let
    me have fun with the records.

    back to Budget, the foundation
    of all that was now and hip ...
    there was also Record Bar #9,
    bright and shiny in the far
    environs of Dutch Square, and
    they carried IMPORTS, wow!
    but no bus to suburbia, and
    it was a very long bike ride.

    so there was Music City and
    there was Budget. somewhere
    in there, the owner sold
    Budget (as we called it) to
    Charley Thomas, and it was
    run from then till the end
    by him & his wife Denise.

    oh, one more thing about
    Music City. urban renewal
    hit it, in the form of a
    tornado. it reopened in a
    tiny building nearby, but
    didn't really matter. Wayne
    died, his daughter ran it,
    and eventually his wife got
    caught with her hand in the
    cookie jar at WCOS, and none
    of it mattered anymore, well
    actually it hadn't for years.

    Budget had great employees,
    the kind who are obsolete in
    this day of Google, they just
    *knew*. Ricky Wilson, the
    late and lamented Tony Kirven,
    people who were more concerned
    with turning you on to things
    than with upselling ... at
    one point, they expanded, took
    the other half of the first
    story of the building, but that
    didn't work out so well and
    they contracted again, squeezed
    me out of a job, but i later
    returned ...

    in the early/mid 70s, there was
    Tunes and Things, the next block
    over, at 933 S. Main Street. not
    the side of the building where
    the Nick is now, the other side,
    the one that eventually became
    a Kinko's. they never could
    quite get the students to walk
    the extra block, but carried a
    full line of jazz, imports (but
    not as many as Budget), and
    bootlegs. $3.99 for vinyl boots
    back then, before they vanished
    and returned in the 80s at $25 a
    pop ...

    store did well enough, but the
    owner wanted to expand, opened
    another store in Irmo (way too
    soon) and went into concert
    promotions (Gino Vanelli or
    Chuck Mangione, anyone?) didn't
    understand the principle of
    credit, that is, that you still
    had to pay sometime, and went
    bankrupt. oh, well, another
    job down the drain ...

    BTW, Manifest didn't start in
    5 Points, that was Ron Marsh's
    X records, though it had
    another name & a different 5
    Points location to begin with,
    can remember, Vinyl Love maybe?
    Carl was some sort of silent
    partner i think, but it wasn't
    Manifest ...

    oh, and when The Cyclist moved
    out of the cottage, I believe
    that it was upstairs in the
    building pictured, until it
    moved to 5 Points.

    The little store on Devine St
    was Tape World ... and if any
    of you remember Always Records,
    first on Knox Abbott, and then
    on Rosewood, well HELLO, you!


    17 Sep 08 at 4:59 pm

  6. Wow, Thanks Jane!


    17 Sep 08 at 5:18 pm

  7. any time, Ted!

    digging through old memories
    doesn't always bring immediate
    results ... so it's error
    correction time. The Cyclist
    didn't move from "the cottage"
    to upstairs from Budget, it
    was actually next door, and
    one of Joe Azar's other
    ventures, Upstairs Audio was
    (you guessed it) upstairs.

    back in the day, Meri's main
    competition at least as far
    as my limited geographic
    boundaries took me was HiFi
    Sounds, in 5 Points. they
    sold albums, 45s, even had
    listening booths, though
    they were more for the adult
    classical customers, they
    didn't think much of the
    kidlets who wanted to listen
    to 45s. my first record
    purchases were there ... and
    the Roses' a few doors down
    was good for cutouts ...
    especially at the point when
    all mono albums were being
    deleted ... damn, i wish i'd
    had more money then ...

    FWIW, i worked at Music City,
    Tunes & Things (twice, once
    on Main St, once in Irmo),
    School Kids (for 2 days,
    didn't realize that "i'll
    call you about your schedule"
    meant that i was supposeded
    to call *him*, so i waited
    for a call that never came,
    Record Bar #9 (2x), Budget
    Tapes, and Always Records,
    so i been there, done that.
    five or six years at WUSC,
    as well ... "fired" for the
    crime of being a non-student
    once i finally graduated ...

    i ended up back in the Tunes
    & Things space when it was
    Kinko's, until i rode the
    Kinko's express out of
    Cola town in '88 ... whew!

    this article was brought to
    my attention by my ex-husband,
    who once worked at Sounds
    Familiar ... and if anyone
    remembers his mid-80s band,
    Nylon Mustang, or even if you
    don't and want to check out
    some fine mid-80s original
    Cola town sounds, see


    17 Sep 08 at 6:23 pm

  8. Jane,
    Where in Irmo was Tunes & Things, and what years where they open? I was 15 in 1985, and I remember the closest record store to the St. Andrews area was the Dutch Square area. I vaguely remember a School Kids open in the shopping strip next to Susie Q's BBQ (where Hungry Howie's is located currently), and maybe one in the Irmo Kroger, but not sure. I bought my first CD at School Kids, paid $11.99 for a used copy of Ride the Lightning. Still have it, w/ the sticker!



    18 Sep 08 at 11:28 am

  9. There was a record store in the Kroger shopping center....i dont remember the name....but i bought my first album there.....Micheal jackson's Thriller.

    My brother bought Quiot Riot's Metal Health.


    19 Sep 08 at 4:14 pm

  10. Jonathan, sorry i didn't check back
    here till now ... the 2nd Tunes &
    Things store was in Seven Oaks
    Shopping Center ... it didn't last
    very long, less than a year ...
    probably opened & closed in 1975.
    waaaay too early for the area ...

    IrmoJeff, which Kroger? Sounds
    Familiar was on Bush River Road
    in the Bush River Mall, with a
    Kroger & a Richway, Flipside (&
    i worked there too) was in the
    Decker Mall, with (you guessed
    it) a Kroger & a Richway ... if
    you're from Irmo, I guess it was
    Sounds Familiar ... the third
    "Richway" Mall was on Devine St,
    or maybe the street had changed
    its name by the time it got
    there, Woodhill Mall. no Kroger,
    but there was a Record Bar ...


    19 Nov 08 at 11:22 pm

  11. I remember Flipside. When they went out of business, the sign outside said "Going out FOR business", which was a bit more optimistic than what was really going on. They seemed to have some knowledgeable folks, though the ones I recall were guys.

    I'm glad you remember a Record Bar in Woodhill Mall (on Garners Ferry). I do too, but folks commenting on the record store posts had about convinced me I was wrong about that.

    Thanks for all the info. And, just, FYI, if you just keep typing and let wordwap fold your lines and hit return between paragraphs, your comments will come up in a wider format, though I'm glad ot have them in any format.


    20 Nov 08 at 12:45 am

  12. I still say it was Sounds Familiar in Woodhill Mall. Although they may have had 2 record stores, but down near the Chic-Fil-A was Sounds Familiar.


    20 Nov 08 at 6:18 am

  13. I worked at Woodhill Mall in the mid 80s and it was a Sounds Familar that they had there.


    20 Nov 08 at 10:25 am

  14. Record Bar went into Woodhill when
    the mall first opened. After they'd
    closed that store, Sounds Familiar
    moved in, i don't recall if it was the
    same space, or how much time
    elapsed between the two ...

    Sounds Familiar's first store was
    originally in the strip shopping
    center (Landmark? dunno, but not
    Cedar Terrace, closer to Leesburg
    Road), and there *was* a grocery
    store there, but i don't remember
    if it was a Kroger. SF moved from
    there to Woodhill after Record Bar
    shut that store.

    so ... the correct answer is BOTH,
    Record Bar, then Sounds Familiar.

    Ted, this is the way i've written on
    the intertubes since back in the
    90s. it's more of an affectation
    now than it was then, back then,
    i couldn't really type, and made
    this my "style". recognisable by
    those who know me, no matter
    where we met ... or where we
    met again ...


    6 Feb 11 at 1:01 pm

  15. Jane, if you are who I think you are, I think I have a Barry McGuire album that you used to own. And if not, nevermind. . . .


    6 Feb 11 at 1:34 pm

  16. Greetings, Steven Brown here - worked at Budget from January '76, until the new owner could get around to firing me - sometime in spring '78. Rikki was off to Texas - formed a ambient-ish group "Svrgical Tools" & the late, great Tony Kirven and I soldiered off to Schoolkids. That was a great time for music in Columbia. I used to drive to Budget from the Upstate to buy imports while in high school. It was a great team: Rikki, Tony, Denny Rej, Colson, John Stone and me. Miss all of you very much - should have a reunion. Peace, Steven

    Steven W. Brown

    6 Feb 11 at 3:13 pm

  17. yeah, i re-read my earlier postings
    & winced when i realized i'd speeled
    Rikki's name incorrectly. i know
    better, really ...

    badger, only if said album had been
    well played by a high school kid with
    a GE $14 plastic record player. well
    loved, but deffo well played ...

    a lot of good people worked at both
    the Sounds of ... and the Budget
    Tapes incarnations ... for instance,
    percussionist Ian Davis, early on, or
    me, Lou Fontana & Doug Stevenson
    in the late 70s ...


    6 Feb 11 at 3:28 pm

  18. ...and Denise ( Charlie's wife ) was cool. I'd love to re-connect with John & Denny from Budget and Doug & Lou from T'n'T, as well. Lot of fun back then - lots of GREAT, if not, foggy memories. I was normally Budget's "closer" - keeping it open until 9am most nights. A reunion should include ALL the shops' employees....

    Steven W. Brown

    6 Feb 11 at 4:27 pm

  19. How many of you remember Billy "Fred" Arnold who had a record store on both sides in the building shown? Budget was pretty good in it's heyday and so was Music City.. What became of the old Buget crowd managers? I think it was Doug I remember the most since he could get all these "import" Lp's that no one else could get at the time.

    Del Bazemore

    6 Feb 11 at 5:20 pm

  20. Jane, if you happen to check back in. . . I had asked Dale Cambell if this album was in print (@1978/1980ish), and he said, "No, but I know Jane has one." Some weeks after that I was browsing thru used records at Rich's Used Records (now Papa Jazz), and I found Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction" album, and there was a name tag on the vinyl label with the name "Jane [last name omitted for obvious reasons]." I later told Dale I had found the album, and that it had this name on it. He said, "I wish I had known she wanted to get rid of it. . . I might have taken it!"


    6 Feb 11 at 9:59 pm

  21. badger, so many records ... i'd have
    thought i'd've hung on to that one till
    the early 80s. maybe i got a cleaner
    copy. glad that you found it listenable
    in any event.

    ... feel free to get in touch, if you
    know my name, i'm easily findable ...
    but yeah, someone gave me those
    labels as a gift when i was about 14.
    i'd forgotten ...


    6 Feb 11 at 10:29 pm

  22. I spent all of my money here A funny incident occurred one day in the store when I was there. John Denver walked in. He browsed the bins a bit. Nodded and I mumbled a "Hi" back. After a few minutes he walked out. Tony looks at me and says, "What a jerk. He didn't buy anything". Which led to lots of laughter.
    Here's the Tony Kirven Memorial Page on facebook!/profile.php?id=100002178573891

    Dave Adair

    10 Apr 11 at 12:18 pm

  23. Actually Tony played drums for a band that me and some friends tried to start, but didnt last long. I used to see him at Riverbanks occasionally also. I didnt know he had passed away..when?

    Del Bazemore

    11 Apr 11 at 12:30 pm

  24. February 22, 1999 - buried in Greenlawn Memorial Park


    16 Apr 11 at 10:10 am

  25. you still have your huge Beatles collection?


    16 Apr 11 at 10:11 am

  26. Hi Dave..I still have some of my Beatles collection, but sold the majority to Perry Cox back in 1997.. It's gotten TOO expensive now..everyone thinks there beatles items are made of gold and want a small fortune for it.. I didnt know it had been that long since Tony had died... I moved back here from Nashville in '99.

    Del Bazemore

    16 Apr 11 at 5:55 pm

  27. Does anyone know or remember what Tony Kirven died from? heart attack? cancer?..

    Del Bazemore

    17 Apr 11 at 9:23 am

  28. DEL, Tony died of cancer...

    Steven W. Brown

    15 Jul 11 at 4:41 pm

  29. I knew Charley and Denise quite well - he was an old boyfriend with whom I had reconnected. Denise was very accepting of our friendship back in those days. I don't know where she is now, but he is a building inspector for Lexington County and probably very easy to locate. I am good friends with his most recent ex-wife and with their daughter, Sarah.


    3 Apr 14 at 11:28 am

  30. I knew Charley & Denise from Budget Tapes & Records quite well. He was an old boyfriend with whom I reconnected in the mid 70s. Denise was very accepting of our friendship. I don't know what happened to her, but he is a building inspector for Lexington County and probably very easily located. I am good friends with his most recent ex-wife and their daughter, Sarah.


    3 Apr 14 at 11:30 am

  31. sorry for the double post ---


    3 Apr 14 at 11:31 am

  32. Always wondered what ever happened to Ron Marsh, the owner of the old X-Records store...anyone know?


    2 Sep 17 at 3:50 pm

  33. @Eric - I have wondered the same. I met Ron back in July 1983 when I opened a car stereo shop in the old gas station at the corner of Harden and Devine where most recently Harpers restaurant was located. Ron and his business, X-Records was my next door neighbor. When I first went in, Ron's record shop was called The Vinyl Emporium. He changed the name sometime in 1983. Ron and I were pretty good friends being that we were in business right next to each other. Sometime in 1984 the property he I and were on was sold. Out-Spokin bicycles were in the building behind us and there was a china restaurant on the other side of Ron's shop. later that year Ron moved to a new spot in five points next to Blue Sky's gallery. After that Ron was doing some DJ work for a radio station called wxly or something. I remember they called it the number one hit kicker and had a morning DJ called mountain man. Last I heard of Ron.


    3 Sep 17 at 8:45 pm

  34. If I remember right, the spot on the right was originally Budget Records and Tapes in the 70's through the early 80's, then one of the last things it was was another used Record store run by the late "Billy" Fred Arnold, but dont remember the name of it now..but that was back in the late 90's..around 1996 or 97. I used to go there quite a bit back then when I was a record collector/dealer.


    18 Dec 19 at 11:52 pm

  35. I remember that dude, not sure what his store was called. I went in there around 1993 a few times, and then it was NCD toward the late 90's.

    Mr Bill

    9 Jan 20 at 1:54 pm

  36. I remember Ron Marsh had a store called "X-Records", but cant remember Billy's store name's been over 20 years ago now.


    9 Jan 20 at 11:22 pm

  37. Danny Douglas owned SchoolKids Records in Five Points.

    Gregory Wilson

    1 Oct 20 at 12:51 pm

  38. Was School Kids located a few doors down from The Backpacker?

    Joe Shlabotnik

    3 Oct 20 at 6:09 am

  39. ted

    3 Oct 20 at 2:16 pm

  40. Love this discussion. I was in Columbia 1972-78 and went to Budget records all the time. I was on a budget and would limit myself to buying one album a week. I remember talking to John Stone for hours. He was very knowledgeable and one of the nicest guys I have ever met in my life. . . and I have since travelled a lot and lived in many places. Anyone know what became of him? I was also good friends with Ian Davis for years (someone mentioned him). Thanks.

    Don Welsh

    28 Apr 22 at 9:44 pm

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