County Sales in Floyd to Close

County Sales in Floyd to Close 4After more than 50 years of business, County Sales will permanently close its retail and online operations on April 30 of 2024.

County Sales was initially opened as the distribution arm of County Records, a storied record label formed by Dave Freeman in New York City in 1965. After finding its home in Floyd, County Sales became the world’s premier bluegrass and old-time music record store and distributor. After decades in the ‘basement’ on Talley’s Alley, County Sales moved to 117 South Locust St. in downtown Floyd. As a 501c3 non-profit under Handmade Music School, County Sales continued to connect people around the globe with new and rare recordings of American traditional music.

After initially going out of business in 2018, Dylan Locke made a plan with Dave Freeman to take it on and try to keep the business going in Floyd, Virginia. “Our vision was to connect the important legacy of County Sales with The Floyd Country Store and Handmade Music School in order to tell the story of these important recordings and how the Floyd community has and continues to contribute to the legacy of traditional stringband music,” says Locke.

Locke points out that the County Sales community of employees, musicians and customers has been the backbone of the organization for over 50 years and it is a testimony to the power of music and music lovers around the world. “We would be remiss in not acknowledging the incredible musicians, producers, labels, and the customers who have supported County Sales, and therefore the music makers, over the years. Thank you!” Locke says.

After Handmade Music School adopted County Sales in 2021 to shift the focus to preservation and historical purposes, there was hope that this shift would push County Sales towards a sustainable future less focused on profitability and more on cultural preservation. However, with changes in the music industry, the economy, the retail landscape, and a shifting and aging demographic, the support for the sale of physical copies of old-time and bluegrass recorded music continues to drop.

While Handmade Music School loves the idea of maintaining the record store because of its cultural significance and the opportunities that it presents, the financial burden of operating a retail store is simply not possible for the organization at this time. After much careful consideration, the board decided that closing the brick and mortar record store and online platform is the best way forward.

“It is important to acknowledge the contributions of Dave and Mark Freeman, their families, and the incredible legacy left in Floyd County, Virginia and throughout the world. Dave had closed County Sales in 2018 and I was hopeful that I could help keep it going, but unfortunately there are too many things stacked against us,” says Locke.

“It is also important to acknowledge the staff that has helped keep County Sales going over the years. We have so much gratitude to the staff from years past, but especially Corbin Hayslett and Jesse Smathers, who offered so much to the customers of County Sales in recent years. We look forward to supporting Corbin and Jesse and all of their amazing contributions to Floyd County and beyond for many years!” says Locke.

County Sales will be open through April 30, 2024. There will be sales on all inventory over the next five weeks. Please go to for details.

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