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Austin opens vinyl record manufacturing plant

Austin's new record manufacturing plant, Gold Rush Vinyl, is only one of two in the world that is owned by a woman.

AUSTIN — Austin's new record manufacturing plant, Gold Rush Vinyl, is only one of two in the world that is owned by a woman.

Founder and President, Caren Kelleher, said despite just opening its doors at 1321 Rutherford Lane in Northeast Austin, business is better than expected.

Austin musicians, like Dave Fisher, appreciates the convenience.

"It's simple, I can drop by here and check to see how things are going," said Fisher.

Fisher just dropped his new single called, "This Used to be My Town."

Fisher ordered 250 copies of his record, something he can't do at other plants because they require at least an order of 500 records.

Short runs, or short orders, are what Gold Rush Vinyl is known for.

"We'll run anything from 100 units and up. Most plants have a minimum of 500 and up. A lot of bands don't even need 500 and it's actually very demoralizing when you see records you didn't sell sitting in your closet," said Caren Kelleher.

Vinyl sales are through the roof -- for the twelfth year in a row.

"Sales in the U.S. last year equal that of 1987 when Michael Jackson was #1 in America," said Kelleher.

Kelleher also said one of the unintended consequences of the vinyl resurgence is that now there's a shortage of plastics. She said its harder to get colored plastic beads in stock because there's such a demand for colored records.

At Gold Rush Vinyl, you can also see how records are made with the two record press machines, although there's room for growth.

The process started with plastic beads being poured into record presses, where they're heated to 220 degrees before being pressed into records.

Just how these record presses work is proprietary.

"In the boiler room, the manner in which we are generating and delivering steam to the hydraulics section of the press is very different and unique than any other plant in the world," said Gator Russo, the Director of Operations.

As for Dave Fisher, if his wish of selling out his records comes true, he now doesn't have to travel far to order more.

Gold Rush Vinyl is on track to expand.

The label has the capacity to make 1.8 million records.

Kelleher said they are in talks right now to start selling personalized records soon.

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