My hunt for records did not always take place in a record store. Like most music collectors, I discovered other places that happened to sell records and tapes. Sometimes it might be a place that provides a one-time shopping opportunity like a garage sale or a monthly flea market. Then there are other places that a music collector can return to as many times as they choose, to see the latest merchandise that has been added to the inventory. This would be places like a Goodwill store or a used bookstore. One such place for me was Peachtree Quality Salvage #5 in Roswell.
Peachtree Quality Salvage was a store where one could shop for numerous things. Their inventory was put together from sources such as liquidations from other businesses, insurance claim write-offs, dinged or damaged merchandise and unclaimed freight. New inventory arrived in the stores each week Wednesday through Friday. Shoppers could find a huge array of items such as cleaning supplies, carpeting, clothing, shoes, electronics, automotive supplies, fabric, books, and hardware just to name a few. Of course, I went there to see the records and tapes.
Peachtree Quality Salvage was operated by Bernice Shirey with assistance from her husband John and their children, making it a true family-run business.
In the mid 1960’s Bernice was successfully operating her own beauty shop, cosmetology school, antique shop, and also an apparel outlet called Quality Value Clothing. It was this business that soon became the first Peachtree Quality Salvage, which would eventually expand to eight Atlanta area locations.
As a teen living on the edge of Roswell, store #5 located at 970 Canton Street, was the one that became my destination. I was first taken there by my friend Russell and his father in 1979. It soon became one of the stops on my Roswell record hunting safaris which I would either do by foot or by MARTA bus, making the rounds to Richway, Kmart, Phase II and TG&Y. Sometimes I would browse at all of these places before I decided on which one would get my allowance money, and then double back to the winner.
Store #5 had originally been the location of a supermarket called Reeve’s Food City. Peachtree Quality Salvage not only utilized the original retail floor space of the supermarket but expanded their sales floor area further back into what had originally been Food City’s stock room and receiving area. Peachtree’s inventory went all the way to the back of the building. The store was very often a beehive of activity with shoppers hauling stuff out and employees hauling stuff in. There were no planograms being used for merchandise display. The inventory was always moving and changing.
The records and tapes at the Roswell store were usually in a section that was shared with books and magazines. Sometimes the 45’s were hung from pegs. This was not a place to go looking for a particular title, but to dig in and see what goodies had come into the music section for that week. The prices were very cheap. LP’s were generally priced at one or two dollars. My first purchase was the Partridge Family’s 45 “Am I Losing You.”
One record that I remember seeing hanging from one of the pegs that were displaying 45’s, was a copy of the promo issue of “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. I was under the impression that this song was (notoriously) never issued as a single, but there it was in front of me. I would have bought it but unfortunately, this copy was severely warped beyond playability from heat or fire damage. A couple of years later I learned that what I saw was one of two different promo-only 45’s issued to radio in the U.S. by Atlantic Records. The first time in 1972, and then again in 1976. The damaged copy that I saw was the 1976 pressing.
I continued to shop at the Roswell store into my adult years. When I moved to the Smyrna area in 1987, I was still able to shop the Peachtree Quality Salvage store that was in Smyrna’s Belmont Hills shopping center. This store was also conveniently located next to the Belmont Hills Turtle’s Record store!
In 2004 the Roswell location was the last one operating as a retail store. That same year it was closed, and the business was shifted to their warehouse and headquarters in Cumming, where it continued to move merchandise through auctions.
I purchased many shirts and pairs of shoes from Peachtree over the years, and continued to find records and tapes to bring home too.