Student expands family business to downtown Florence

Co-Owner Carter Cothern cleans some vinyls. Underground Art & sound opened this past spring.

Music drifts up a stone staircase leading beneath court street. Its source is a doorway leading to the best-kept secret in Florence: The Underground Art & Sound.

Sophomore Carter Cothren is a 19-year-old mathematics major from Memphis, Tennessee, who also runs the record store Underground Art & Sound located on the corner of Court and Tennessee Streets.

The Underground officially opened the last week of May and employs several people, most of whom are also UNA students.

Cothren said he enjoys running the business and is considering changing his major to business.

He said he got into the music store business through his father who is a long-time collector of CDs and records. Cothren’s father owns a similar store in Bartlett, Tennessee, just outside of Memphis.

Much of Underground’s inventory thus far has come from his father’s store, but they are always looking for other suppliers.

“No one really knows we’re a buy, sell and trade store,” Cothren said. “We’re trying to advertise that a little more.”

In addition to records, Underground sells CDs, posters, shadow boxes, t-shirts and vintage video games.

They are currently working on expanding their video game collection to include consoles, as well.

The Underground’s Facebook page has also been popular with over 400 likes and eight reviews, all giving 5 out of 5 stars.

Michelle Wilkinson, a UNA alum, reviewed it saying, “Great store! Go check it out in downtown Florence.”

Sophomore Heather Brady also said the Underground “had great customer service” and mentioned the store was very organized.

“It was easy to locate artists since it was so orderly,” Brady said.

Junior Tabitha Ramsey said she was drawn into the store because of the posters they had on display during a recent “First Friday” exhibition, and she described the employees as “inviting” and “helpful.”

“I love the shop,” Ramsey said. “I think it’s great to have an array of music stores to browse and enjoy, and their shop has a unique and necessary presence on Court Street.”

Cothren said the plan is to stay at their current location in Florence but also begin looking into expansion.

“We want more stores,” he said. “We’re looking at Nashville, Seattle, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Little Rock.”