The Compact Disc Store
684 Jefferson Hwy
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Brad Pope is the owner of The Compact Disc Store located at 684 Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. The store specializes in compact discs from all musical fields: pop, jazz, blues, classical, country, kids, Cajun, alternative, folk, soundtracks, shows, world music, etc. and music DVDs.
Pope graduated from Louisiana State University in 1969 with a degree in Speech Corrections. He went back to do graduate work in Fine Arts with an emphasis on painting, though he never completed the degree. In 1984, he visited a friend who managed the classical record room of the Metronome, a record store in New Orleans. Besides traditional albums and singles, the store carried Compact Discs – the newest technology in musical recording at that time. The difference in sound was so startling; he knew there would be a great market for this product.
Determined to open a CD shop in Baton Rouge, Pope started in 1985 with 2 or 3 bins of CDs in a small space in Goodwood Village. The industry was so new; he had trouble getting suppliers at first and CDs were mostly jazz and classical. In the same shopping center was Art Colley’s Audio Specialties. Colley loaned him equipment that allowed people to listen to CDs and appreciate the huge difference in sound. Many who purchased CDs went next door to buy Colley’s CD players.
Pope opened the Compact Disc Store in 1985 with a simple business philosophy — “getting the art to the people“. Still in business 21 years later, he credits his success to giving his customers something they do not get at other places: the assistance of people who know music. His staff consists of music lovers with a willingness to find answers for customers. “There is so little personal interaction in the acquisition of stuff nowadays; people are used to just walking up to the counter and paying for it”, Pope says. He considers the human connection with his customers one of his shop’s distinguishing features.
Having a musical family background – he began playing the organ at the age of 12 and has been the organist at St Alban’s Chapel on LSU’s campus since 1970 – Pope claims he cannot think of a more interesting retail business.
He believes in libraries and remembers fondly of the library in the town where he grew up. He feels the best part of his education at LSU was wandering through the library, pulling books from the shelves, and sitting on the floor to read what interested him.
After being in the business several years, Pope remembered that he had daydreamed as a teenager of opening a record store. “I’m doing what I always wanted to do,” he says, “Not many people have that satisfaction.”