Hailing from Michigan, Tonka Vac/Tonka Tunes owner Shaun Gauld was drawn to rock n’ roll at the early age of 7.
“Only Gospel and only very basic piano and organ hymns was all that was allowed at my house and in church. I got into rock ‘n roll at the age of 7 or 8 years old and it mushroomed. By the time I got out of the house, I had quite a knowledge of the history of rock ‘n roll.” Gauld said.
He quickly became of fan of classic rock, psychedelic rock, garage rock and blues, which are all genres he continues to listen to today.
“I appreciate most genres. I listen to a little classical but not a lot... Jazz of the ‘30s and ‘40s is pretty cool. It was the early beginnings of guitar oriented music,” he said.
Now, years later, Gauld owns and operates the only used record store in the area and has combined it with his background in selling Kirby vacuums. However, retirement is on the horizon.
Gauld started buying and selling records in 1972 and started selling Kirby vacuums in 1977 as his main business. Over the years, the record side grew and in 2004 he merged the two together in downtown Mound. The store was originally in the old city hall building, but moved down the street on Commerce Blvd in 2008.
“I started in direct sales with Kirby Company and did that for a long time but it really wasn’t for me. I had great success as a young man but I never really liked it. I had to do it my own way,” he said.
In junior high, Gauld started buying records from friends, and by high school, he had started a used record inventory at three different record stores in order to provide for himself.
“I talked them into it and showed them the proof that there was a market for used records,” he said. “I sold mail order until 1996 when I started selling online when I got my first computer.”
Yes, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Neil Young are among Gauld’s favorite to listen to; however, he will buy entire collections from sellers from genres across the board even if he can’t sell them. Gauld’s record inventory is approximately 150,000 records.
“Now I listen to music much older than I am,” he said as The Who plays in the background. “On a fairly regular basis, ‘50s rock ‘n roll. Not the radio hits, but there were some real rockers.”
His customers range from millennials looking for classic albums or those 50 or older looking to buy back the albums they once sold. No matter what age the customer, Gauld said he does not like making recommendations to people without knowing what they’re interested in and he does not want to steer somebody in the wrong direction.
“If they tell me what they like, then I can... I want to know what kind of music they like and I can maybe find them something similar. A lot of people love The Beach Boys in the summer. I can listen to them anytime or never,” he said. “I don’t want to sell them something they don’t like.”
Gauld is willing to sell in bulk, as well. He recently had a customer take 1,000 records off his hands. With the stores large inventory, customers can surely find something they’ll enjoy whether they’re looking for one record or thousands.