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'Legendary' Jerry Weber Bids Adieu To His Record Store, But Never The Music That Made His Career

After 42 years selling used vinyl records, Jerry Weber will walk away from his namesake record store in Squirrel Hill for the last time this Sunday.

His usual spot in the store is behind its elevated counter. The walls behind are decorated with framed drawings, photos and articles of Weber, who has housed his store in the same location since the early '90s.

“Nobody has this many of the non-selling things," he said, surrounded by stacks of vinyl records.

Credit Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA
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Jerry Weber has operated Jerry's Records out its Squirrel Hill location since the early 90s. He estimates there are as many as 500,000 records in the store.

They cover the counter. They're on the floor, in the hallway and, of course, in every nook on the sales floor.

Weber estimated he has about a half-million used records in the space Murray Avenue, from popular favorites to obscure blues.

Jerry played Guest DJ for sister station WYEP on Thursday, July 27, 2017. Hear him talk about some of his favorite music and play a few selections here.

"[It's] not a good business plan," he said, "but I’ve always been about rescuing records and passing them along.”

It’s been Weber's life mission to rescue vinyl records before they head to the trash. He got his start as the co-owner of the “Record Graveyard” in Oakland for six years, and then opened his own store dubbed “Garbage Records,” a name that lasted only one year before he simplified it to “Jerry’s Records” in the mid-'80s.

Credit Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA
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Jerry's Records routinely cleans and categorizes its stock. Owner and founder Jerry Weber, who recently sold the business, said keeping the vinyl clean and prices affordable were always part of his mission.

Weber has become known by vinyl fans around the world for his store and his fair prices -- a philosophy that goes back to his beginnings in the early '70s when new records sold for between $4 and $6.   

He's proud that he’s been able to keep his prices affordable through the years.

“My greatest accomplishment is the fact that there are almost half a million records here and probably 95 percent of them are $5 or less," he said. "In this day and age, at this time, nobody even comes close to that.  I mean, there are people with dollar sections -- I’m talking about an organized record store, in alphabetical order, every record cleaned.”

Credit Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Jerry Weber holds an iconic Andy Warhol album behind the desk of his Squirrel Hill store on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. After 42 years selling used records in Pittsburgh, Weber has sold his namesake store and will be stepping away from the counter on Sunday, July 30.

Weber sold the name, website and all his records to one of his employees, Chris Grauzer, who's promised to keep things going. 

“I’m going to miss it major. How could you not?" Weber said. "Fourty two years of your life, a lot of good friends, a lot of pleasant record collectors... I’m not going to mention the jagoffs that come in here.”

Weber said he’ll leave any talk of a legacy for others to consider.

“Someone wrote an article and they called me ‘the beloved Jerry Weber,’ and I said never in my life would I have thought anyone would describe me as ‘beloved.’ They called me ‘legendary’ in another article. I could go for that."

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