Wooden Nickel Records opened back in the summer of 1982 on North Clinton Street in Fort Wayne, Indiana by Bob and Cindy Roets during the first year of MTV music television. Bob had worked at three other record stores in Madison, Wisconsin while in college and after graduation, moved to Fort Wayne to manage Slatewood Records. At just 23 years old, Bob’s dream of owning his own record store came a reality in 1982 as a full line record and cassette store and grew quickly as Wooden Nickel introduced Fort Wayne to the Compact Disc in 1983(the first title released was an import of Genesis “Genesis”). Due to the explosion in popularity of the CD, Wooden Nickel went from one location to six (N. Clinton, N. Crescent, Time Corners, Dupont, Southgate and Georgetown) in Fort Wayne during their first decade of business. Things were going great in the music business until the debut of Napster in 1999 signaled a huge downturn in physical music product sales. With free file sharing services, itunes along with internet sales(Amazon for example) well over 3000 record stores went out of business over the next decade. Wooden Nickel was not exempt to the changes in the industry, losing it’s Dupont, Southgate and Georgetown locations by 2007.
A major turning point occurred the next year (2008), as Record Store Day was born. Wooden Nickel was one of just a handful of multi-store independent music locations that participated the first year, and began to notice a rather interesting trend that grew each year after our first RSD. That of course was the return of vinyl, which has grown at a double digit rate for us over the each of the past ten years!
One of WN’s special hallmark’s through the years has been our in-store signings and performances. Bands to appear at Wooden Nickel over the years include artists like Bo Diddley, They Might Be Giants, .38 Special, Foreigner, Krokus, Dokken, Queensrÿche, The Tubes, Head East, Joe Bonamassa, Static X and Soil to name a few. Wooden Nickel has hosted over 350 performances in it’s 33 year existence, most of which have featured the some of the finest musical talent in and around Fort Wayne. Check out our YouTube channel which features over 3000 videos shot in our stores featuring many of these in-store performances. The videos on our YouTube channel have received well over 5,000,000 views, bringing much needed attention to many artists in our local music community!
We are truly a family run local business as both of Bob and Cindy’s sons, Christopher and Andrew have logged countless hours in the stores through the years. Wooden Nickel has received many accolades through the years, including 22 national sales awards, 9 Fort Wayne Newspapers “Best Of Fort Wayne” awards and most recently the 2014 H. Stanley Liddell Fort Wayne Special Achievement Award for our enthusiastic promotion of Fort Wayne’s musicians and the local music scene for over three decades.