After 56 years in business, Louisiana’s longest tenured “record shop” will shutter its doors at the end of the year. Located on East Main Street in Ville Platte, Louisiana, Floyd’s Record Shop made the tiny town a destination for decades for music fans around the world in search of Cajun, zydeco and swamp pop grooves.
“Basically, we just couldn’t cut it anymore,” says owner Floyd Soileau. “The last two years have just been horrible. Like I told several people, having a record store now is like having an antique shop. I talked to the staff about six months ago and we discussed the situation. Luckily most of them are close to retirement now. We’ll start discounting product in December and keep discounting it week by week until we close. Whatever is left over we’ll auction off in January. I thought I was sitting on a white elephant with the building, but it was sold it to a CPA firm that’s going to put their offices in it.”
Floyd’s Record Shop will still exist online, selling Soileau’s house labels—Swallow, Maison de Soul and Jin, as well as independent labels such as CSP, Arhoolie and La Louisiane. It will also continue to offer Cajun gift items like aprons, seasonings and T-shirts.
“I got in the record business in the summer of 1956,” recalls Soileau, a recipient of OffBeat’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Music Business in 2000. “I was working as a local DJ at KVPI here. The owner suggested I should open a record shop underneath the radio station. I went to New Orleans with my [now] late brother. We went to all the record distributors buying 45s and I bought an inexpensive Decca phonograph.
“I spent $240. I sold phonographs, because I knew with every one I sold, I got a repeat customer interested in buying records to play on it.
“It was a good time to get in the business because stuff was happening. Rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll were taking off. Dick Clark was on TV every day and the music business was starting to take off. Will I miss it? Sure. But I have no regrets.”