3012 W. Cary St.
Second Place: Deep Groove Records
Third Place: Steady Sounds
Despite financial troubles, Plan 9 Records remains the local choice when it comes to buying used vinyl and new CDs. The venerable record shop still lets you listen before you buy and maintains its position as counterculture central. "We've experienced downturns like everyone else," owner Jim Bland says, adding that he's looking to move when the store's lease is up. Two years ago, former Plan 9 employee Jay Leavitt opened Deep Groove on Robinson Street, and the snug, well-curated shop has found a steady clientele of musicos who enjoy leafing through the plentiful bargain bin. Also popular — especially with the DJ set — is third-place finisher Steady Sounds, housed downtown on Broad Street and run by two more Plan 9 refugees, Marty Key and Drew Snyder.