Barky’s Spiritual Store
When Barksdale “Barky” Haggins first opened Barky’s record store in downtown Richmond, an early challenge was stocking his shelves – in 1956, white distributors didn’t want to sell records to a black business owner. So Haggins drove to D.C. or New York City monthly to buy the vinyl.
Since then, record stores have faded as digital music has crescendoed. Barky kept the business alive by shifting from contemporary genres to gospel music and church merchandise.
“‘Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living,’” said Haggins, crediting José N. Harris, author of the inspirational memoir Mi Vida.
The reason that Barky’s store has been around for so long, said Haggins, is “the people. It’s the customers! … We’ve been around for 65 years, and we plan on being around for another 65 years.”