Ray Fortune (left) and customers at Wylde West Wreckerds store in Santa Ynez. | Credit: Wylde West Wreckerds

Vinyl enthusiasts will rejoice over Wylde West Wreckerds, the latest addition to Santa Ynez’s downtown shopping district. The tiny, two-aisle destination — offering a cherry-picked, 40/60 ratio of new to used stock — is the work of music aficionado and longtime record dealer Ray Fortune, who spent more than a decade flipping used vinyl on the circuit while running Records Etc. in Solvang before settling into his current home at 3558 Sagunto Street. 

It’s not the kind of place you stumble upon. Tucked behind Pony Espresso coffee, next to the back entrance to the post office and an architect’s studio, Fortune’s outpost specializes in first pressings and analog reissues that chart the evolution of most alternative genres spanning the ’60s to now, but especially hard-to-find indie rock, post-punk, alternative country, metal, soul, and jazz — whittled down to the essentials but keeping some nice surprises in the mix.

“I wanted music fans to be able to stop by and grab a first edition of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Sticky Fingers on a whim or dig deep into the catalogs of artists like the Cure, Interpol, Pavement, the Smiths, and LCD Soundsystem, to name a few. I also sell the latest releases by artists like Taylor Swift and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,” said Fortune of his curatorial approach, which caters to connoisseurs. He’s an unabashed stickler on quality: “There’s no budget section here.”

Indeed, appreciation for Fortune’s discerning eye was on full display at the shop on a recent Friday afternoon. “Ray’s a guy who does his homework,” said regular shopper John Flesher, who had thumbed the stacks that day and plucked out Mule Variations by Tom Waits. “If you’re a buyer who also does your homework, then you’re really going to respect his selection.”

Country musician Wil Ridge is another local collector who keeps knocking at Ray’s door, drawn to the tangible appeal of vinyl in an age of fleeting digital pleasures. “I love the physical involvement of listening to a record,” Ridge said. “I get to bring it home, take it out of the sleeve, flip it over on the player. Maybe there’s a cool poster or lyric booklet inside — I feel a part of the album.”

Elaborating on the exploding demand for vinyl, Fortune noted, “People my age are buying back the toys we had in the ’80s and ’90s while millennials are discovering the rewards of physically owning what they pay for.”

At the end of the day, Fortune just loves getting music to the people. “Selling Nirvana’s Nevermind or Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to a 15-year-old kid who is just discovering these bands is what makes it all worth it,” he said.

Asked what’s on the horizon, Fortune already has expansion on his mind. “In addition to a weekly podcast focusing on new arrivals and notable vintage finds,” he said, “I’ve got plans in the works for additional stores in Montecito and Paso Robles. I designed this business model to be easily replicated.”

Wylde West Wreckerds is open 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 3558 Sagunto Street, Santa Ynez. Follow them on Instagram at @wyldewestwreckerds.

Support the Santa Barbara Independent through a long-term or a single contribution.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.