Music Industry Vet Keeps His Record Store Running in Cleveland Despite Pandemic Problems

A Separate Reality Records / A Separate Reality Records

We here at GOBankingRates want to help get our nation’s small businesses back on their feet after the COVID-19 pandemic. To do that, we’re highlighting readers’ favorite small businesses around the country, and shining a spotlight on what makes them special to their customers and their towns.

2021 Small Business Spotlight: Check Out Our Small Business Stories, Plus the Nominated Businesses Near You

In this edition of our Small Business Spotlight series, we’re featuring A Separate Reality Records, a record store in Cleveland. A veteran of the music industry, owner Augustus Payne decided to start his business after having cancer and realizing that life is too short to not be doing what he loves. Here, we chat with Payne about what he learned from his previous years working in the music business that helped him with his new endeavor, why he finds his job so rewarding and how he adapted his business to pandemic times.

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What did you take from past experiences or jobs that you knew you wanted to be a part of your new business?

I’ve been involved in many different areas of the music business over the years — everything from working at a recording studio to DJing, playing in bands to working at a record label. I knew intense focus was the key to success in any area of life.

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What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a business owner?

I love waking up in the morning and getting after it. There’s nothing I like more than meeting and sharing new music with others.

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How has the pandemic affected your business?

It definitely made me refocus my priorities. I shifted to an online-only business during the pandemic.

How can people continue to support your business during this time?

By coming to see the store at 11221 Detroit Ave. in Cleveland, or by checking out my website,

Read More: This Midwest Mom Credits Her Daughter for Inspiring Her Bath & Body Business

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?

Follow your heart — it won’t lead you wrong. Remember, music is the healing force of the universe.

Do you have a small business you want to see in this spotlight? Just let us know.

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This interview has been edited for clarity.

Last updated: June 7, 2021

About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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