Free Hugs & Sweet Jamz: One Year Of Driver 8 Records

by | Jul 16, 2023 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

It has taken me a number of days to rest, recover and recharge after last weekend’s first anniversary event. I was hoping that I would get to see a bunch of folks that I have met over the last twelve months and I was hoping that all the balloons would draw a few new folks over to my little corner on Pine Street. Both things happened, and so much more. Like so many things related to Driver 8 Records, y’all’s excitement exceeded my expectations. Thank you.

I never knew my grandfather, he died not long after I was born, but he spent his working life owning a grocery store in Social Circle Georgia. This was before, during and after the Great Depression in a very small town just over an hour outside of Atlanta. The store was small, two or three aisles, with a butcher shop in the back. In the good times they hired a butcher and in the lean times my grandfather was the butcher. But that little store mattered to people in the community. It allowed folks to buy their groceries without the hassle of traveling 15 miles or so to a slightly larger town. I have been told that he knew his customers by name and allowed folks dealing with hard times to buy food on credit. He sold the store in the early 70s and the debits that people owed him just disappeared.

When I was preparing to open I had a list of possible names that I was considering, one of which was Grocery Records, a small nod to my family past. I am happy that I went with the name Driver 8 Records instead, if only because people talk to me every day about REM and not about cold cuts and fresh vegetables. But I am also trying to create a place that matters to people. Music being food for the soul, and all that. And weekends like our first anniversary remind me that I am on the right path.

I asked a number of people if they remembered what month they found the store. Their answered varied and plenty of folks had no idea. But many of y’all remembered very clearly the first record you found here. Sometimes it was a used record that you had been searching out for a while or a reissue of a 90s record that takes you back to high school. The memories around music are strong and I am grateful that my little store gets to be a part of them.

By any measure the first year of Driver 8 Records was a success. Folks found the store and found records they love. We have hosted art shows that filled the store with old friends and nurtured new ones. We recently launched our own Little Free Library, were I get to share my love of books. And we’ve become a place where folks stop by when they are wasting time in Old Town or taking a break from work, just to say hello or see what’s new.

PS: I’m really not much of a hugger. I’m also not much of a cactus.


  1. Matt Brinkman

    The best record store I have had the pleasure of visiting and it’s in my own backyard! I hope you have continuous success and stay around for a long time!

    • Darren Leathers

      You have a kickass shop! I remember, my first two visits I dropped $500. 🤷🏻‍♂️🤪 I wish I knew everything I have bought there!
      You’re doing a great job Charles! 🤘💀

  2. Sarah Jardis

    What a great memory of Grandpa, and here’s to year 1! Congratulations Charles. We love that our finds include used and new, things we’ve been wanting and treasures you helped us discover. Here’s to many more!


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