Sift through records, CDs, video games and more at The Exchange in Mid City

Sift through records, CDs, video games and more at The Exchange in Mid City – [225]

To walk in The exchange on Government Street is like stepping into a treasure trove of tangible media from the past.

No matter what you’re looking for (vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, video games), you’re sure to find hidden gems at this store. Hard not to, considering they’re stacked everywhere as high as the ceilings.

Owner Victor Holiday says he’s been collecting merchandise for the store since it opened the doors in 2005. He’s gained some breadth by picking up other people’s old collections and hunting in different stores to “buy , sell and exchange. The result is a music and media lover’s dream in a space no bigger than the average convenience store.

“Being a small store, people assume you won’t have variety, so I try to dabble in a bit of everything,” says Holiday. “I have all the major genres of music and movies, and I even carry these little niche subgenres too.”

Holiday opened the shop after having been a hairstylist for more than 20 years. Although he started out primarily selling video games, his collection quickly grew to include vinyl records, posters, movies, VHS tapes, audio gear, t-shirts and more. He moved the Florida Boulevard store to Mid City about six years ago, seeing it as a prime location in Baton Rouge’s funkiest neighborhood.

Born in the 1960s, Holiday grew up in the capital’s record stores. He then remembers Baton Rouge as a “rock ‘n’ roll town,” which is probably why it’s the best-selling genre in the store. Holiday has lived all over the country, from New York to California, but calls Baton Rouge her home.

The vinyl craze in recent years has led to many new record stores, but The Exchange seems to stand out locally. Maybe it’s because of the vast collection, or maybe it’s because Holiday knows so much about every item in her store.

“In the past, you had to know someone who had the record you wanted or go to a record store and talk to a knowledgeable person in order to get an idea of ​​what kind of music you were buying,” Holiday recalls. . “If you didn’t, you should buy a record or CD and try your luck.”

Here, you don’t have to take that bet. If you’re curious about a record, chances are Holiday has some answers. His girlfriend calls it his “encyclopedic knowledge of music.” If you want to listen before you buy, Holiday will spin it as you browse.

“The sound quality of tangible music is different. It’s all about having the right equipment. I feel like we live in a society where everything depends on what I can have rather than what I can enjoy, when it comes to media.

[The Exchange owner Victor Holiday]

In the age of digital music and streaming services, Holiday says the internet has become a “kiss and a curse”. It gives up-and-coming artists exposure, but having so many songs in the palm of your hand might make you feel less grateful. Physical media, he says, is timeless – it will be there even if the wifi or electricity goes out.

“If you have a boombox and batteries, you can still listen to your tunes,” says Holiday. “I feel like we live in a society where it’s all about what I can have rather than what I can enjoy, when it comes to media.”

Managing a store as specialized as this in the digital age is not easy. Holiday says he operates in a niche market, but he loves what he does and enjoys serving music lovers and video game addicts.

“To have a small business in the digital age, you need to have some kind of passion for it,” says Holiday. “Anyway, you have to have a passion for it.”

This article originally appeared in the January 2022 issue of charger 225.

John C. Dent