Perlmutter graduated in 2003 as a chemistry major and worked in a lab for seven years after graduation.
But in his second semester at UNC, he began DJing at UNC’s campus radio station, WXYC, and discovered a newfound enjoyment of vinyl records and soul music.
He began his own collection in college — focusing on researching local artists. He later launched a website called carolinasoul.org, where he archived the records and history he found.
In 2010, Perlmutter decided he wanted to try something different — he left lab work behind to make Carolina Soul his full-time job.
He then co-founded Paradise of Bachelors, a record label, recording company, sound system and archive located in the Piedmont that focused on lesser-known Southern music.
He transformed Carolina Soul into an online business, selling records through eBay and Discogs. Over the last five years, online sales have steadily increased and Perlmutter was awarded an Indy Arts Award in 2012.
Perlmutter was selling enough records to fill an entire store — so he took the next logical step.
Carolina Soul Records, located at 117 E. Main St. in Durham, opened in December and boasts a huge selection of over 10,000 rare gems, with more than 1,000 45 singles, a rarity even within record stores.
The store also offers a wide range of genres including soul, jazz, reggae, funk, disco, rap, R&B, blues and gospel.
Though the store’s name is Carolina Soul Records, Perlmutter said not to worry — there is something for everyone, from rockers to hippies.
“Local music is good, but we’ve discovered other things,” he said. “We’re constantly surprised at what we find.”
The store also features a listening booth. Most of the inventory is used, so customers can hear what they’re buying before they buy it.
Max Brzezinski, Carolina Soul’s marketing director, said the rarity of the music is what is truly special.
“The cool thing about records is you can find lots of stuff that hasn’t made it to MP3,” he said. “There is a lot of music you just can’t hear in any other way.”
Store manager Jack Bonney has known Perlmutter since buying records from him in 2007 and left his management position at CFBG Records in Greensboro for his current gig at Carolina Soul Records. He said this shop, regardless of music tastes or experience, is a place for everyone.
“We want this to be a place both for the veteran collector and those just getting started.”