BY RACHEL CUCCURULLO
Walk into Sounds Good Music on any given day and owner Andy Royo will ask, “What do you want to listen to? We’ve got a pretty infinite collection.”
The shop, which was recently moved to a newer and larger location off U.S. 1 and Savanna Club Road, is a little more than 1,000 square feet and boasts an impressive array of records, CDs and high-end music equipment. Customers could browse for hours on end.
“I like to have a variety of music choices here,” Royo said. “We’ve got a pretty solid customer-base and I think that’s what helps keep us going.”
Royo was born and lived in the Glendale area of Los Angeles, California, for the first few years of his childhood. His family moved to the Fort Lauderdale area in the 1970s, so Royo considers himself a Floridian.
“I remember when my mom would send me to get groceries,” he said with a laugh. “She would give me a certain amount and I would use the change to go to the record shop next store.”
Royo recalled that ever since he could remember, he was always very much into music. Whether it was playing guitar or putting on one of his favorite albums, he gravitated toward anything associated with music.
“My top five favorite albums? That’s tough…” Royo said, “I would say that changes daily.”
After high school, Royo attended the University of South Florida in Tampa. Although he did not graduate, that did not stop him from being successful.
“I found out pretty quickly that college just wasn’t for me,” he said. “But, I used the knowledge gained from the businesses courses I did take and knew I wanted to work for myself.”
Before opening his own shop though, Royo worked in retail for several other record stores. While in high school, he worked at Q Records (later Strawberry Records) in Fort Lauderdale. Then, after leaving USF he worked for the record store giant Peaches Records & Tapes for several years. He helped to open the Peaches location in Tampa and later worked at the Fort Lauderdale location for several years.
During its heyday, the Peaches chain had stores in nearly every large city across the United States. They had a huge inventory with knowledgeable staff and had a 26-year run, from 1975-2001. The chain closed its doors in part due to low record sales and what Royo believed to be its failure to keep up with changes in the music industry.
“I was fed up with the way things were being run in the music industry and retail,” Royo said. “So, I took a break from it for some years.”
Royo drew inspiration from his time at Q Records and Peaches and hoped to open a mom-and-pop shop of his own. But in the meantime, Royo had his own pool business and delivered newspapers in order to provide for his family.
Longtime friend and former colleague, Sean Kayes of Radio-Active Records, commented that after a few years of lost contact, Royo was delivering papers to his Fort Lauderdale shop and the pair recognized one another.
“I knew Andy would rather work in a record shop than deliver papers and so I made him my first employee in my new shop, then known as CD City,” Kayes said. “Andy is a great salesman with a rare combination of sincerity, enthusiasm and knowledge.”
Kayes denoted his shop’s success to Royo’s passion for music and said he is a great friend with an even better sense of humor.
“If not for him working with me in the first few years, I probably would not be looking at an upcoming 23-year anniversary,” Kayes said.
After his wife’s job transferred her to Fort Pierce, Royo and his family moved to Port St. Lucie in 1998. He continued with his pool business and soon found that Port St. Lucie would be the perfect place for a record shop.
“I figured that with the population here, we could make sales and create a good customer-base,” he said. “I wasn’t really nervous at all.”
With that confidence, Royo created a business plan with some advice from Kayes and moved into the same shopping center where Lefty’s Wings and Grill is on Port St. Lucie Boulevard in 2003. The shop featured rows of tables with old school crates full of records, a wall of CDs and an area with top-of-the-line music equipment for the serious music listener.
For many years, Sounds Good Music was the only record shop within a 40-mile radius. Customers continue to drive from near and far to buy, sell and listen to records and CDs in the shop.
Royo loves what he does and he exudes that passion through his shop. He is an encyclopedia of all things music and is always happy to help his customers.
“Sometimes a customer comes in and only knows a line
or two from a song,” he said with a smile. “I love helping people find the song or album they have been searching for.”
Royo noted that owning your own shop has it perks.
“We’ve got pretty loose hours here … that’s a hard ish,” he said, jokingly, pointing to the shop’s hours sign on the door. It reads: Open from 11-ish to 7-ish.
Vinyl record sales have made a comeback in the last decade and Royo is proud to have been able to keep his doors open for record collectors of all ages.
“It’s great to see the younger generation getting into vinyl,” Royo said. “It is really a better-quality sound.”
Besides running the shop, Royo has made it a point to make appearances around the community. His love of music has allowed him to spin records at different local venues.
“We all have to support each other, us mom-and-pop shops,” he said.
Royo enjoys hosting Vinyl Night at Blue Door Coffee Bar in downtown Stuart. This free event is usually from 9 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays.
“It’s been great to become a part of this community that has supported that universal love of music, which helps me to make a living for my family and I,” Royo said.
We spin vinyl at private events such as holiday parties, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, corporate parties and more.
Picture of a private event held at a local venue in the Treasure Coast.