- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

GRIFFITH, Ind. (AP) - When his record collection got “way out of hand,” the “obvious” thing to do was get rid of his bed, then dresser, so he could have more storage space for his vinyl treasures.

Josh Becerra, owner of Region Records, 212 E. Main St., remembers getting hooked on music after growing up listening to his father’s favorites - The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and many other classic rock legends.

“I grew up listening and appreciating everything,” the 23-year-old Hammond resident said. “It’s all about the music. I don’t judge. People come in here asking for unique pieces, and I love the challenge of finding it for him.”

Becerra remembers his first purchase as a 12-year-old.

“It was Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery’s ‘The Dynamic Duo,’ Becerra said. “I was attracted to the album cover of two friends enjoying a sandwich together. It just looked so cool to me.”

The young Becerra is living his dream, opening his doors just a few months ago in Griffith. Region Records offers something from every genre - blue grass, jazz, punk, R&B;, metal, classics and more. He even has an extensive book, DVD and art collection and takes great pride in offering “extremely reasonable prices.”

Becerra notes he may not be the “most savvy businessman” but prefers honesty over wealth when it comes to his customers.

About a month ago, a customer turned to the store owner when trying to get rid of some records, looking to sell them for $1 each. Becerra knew one of the records was worth way more than that. He asked the man to come back at the end of the week while looking for an outside collector. Becerra had $1,200 waiting for him when he returned to the store.

“I didn’t take anything out of the deal,” Becerra said. “It’s not about the money; it’s about the music. Hopefully, that customer will value my honesty and shop here out of loyalty and if not, I still did the right thing.”

Becerra battles a bit of shyness, except when it comes to talking music and performing. He loves to rock out during jam sessions and open-mic nights, which his store offers on Saturday nights.

“This is a cool place,” said Colonel Buster of the band Colonel Buster’s Three Piece Dinner. “Artists love it because it’s a great place to try things out and get a good feel for audience’s reaction. Aspiring musicians need a place like this.”

Becerra started his collection during his youth by purchasing records at garage sales, thrift shops and flea markets. His favorite album in the store is by the British rock icons The Zombies.

“Everyone knows The Beatles, The Who and The Stones,” Becerra said. “But The Zombies are a classic band, too, with some great music. There’s nothing better than listening to the classics on vinyl. Nothing.”

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Source: The (Munster) Times, https://bit.ly/1Gholt9

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Information from: The Times, https://www.thetimesonline.com

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