A record achievement: Vintage Mío serves nonprofits through vinyl music sales

John Tefteller, the leading rare blues music collector in the world, visited Vintage Mío, leaving his signature and well wishes behind. Camie Jobe | Photographer

By Clara Snyder | Reporter

Four years ago, Armando Cardoso began selling records online as a side gig after inheriting a large collection from his aunt. Now, he runs Vintage Mío at 108 S Sixth St., uniting people through a shared love of music while giving back to those in need.

Cardoso said he knew very little about records when he first started the venture.

“I knew what a record was; I just didn’t understand things like how Elvis sounded on a 78 RPM,” Cardoso said. “In fact, it was Elvis and Bob Seger who were the first two artists I listened to when I first started collecting records.”

About two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic, Cardoso decided to leave his job of 12 years to focus on health concerns. As the impact of the pandemic began to unfold across the globe, Cardoso said he saw the great need of nonprofits in his area of Oregon. Wanting to find a way to start a business while giving back to those in need, the idea for Vintage Mío — mío meaning “mine” in Spanish — was born.

Cardoso set out to raise $250,000 for nonprofits while making a living. Since making this goal, he has raised roughly $26,500 for nonprofits supporting domestic abuse survivors, foster care children, cancer victims and more.

Following a major life event that caused him to lose everything, Cardoso made the move from Oregon to Waco. While passing through the city on his way to Austin one day, he had an experience at a local church where a woman welcomed him, listened to his story and offered him a check.

“She said, ‘Armando, I had been praying this morning to make sure my tithing went to a good source, and when I saw you walk down the row, He told me to give this to you,’” Cardoso said. “On the check’s memo line it read, ‘because God told me to.’”

Following the act of kindness, the woman encouraged him to take communion with her, which was something Cardoso said he hadn’t felt worthy of doing in 20 years. The simple act completely changed his life and reaffirmed his business model ambitions.

“I immediately felt forgiven,” Cardoso said. “What she didn’t know is that when I went back to Oregon, I got baptized in front of my ex-wife and then packed up all my stuff and came to Waco. That was it.”

Cardoso said he often encounters the question of “Why Waco?” He said there seems to be a negative stigma surrounding the city, but he believes in its people and its future.

“Waco needs a good store and someone to fight for them,” Cardoso said. “I come from a different perspective, and we’re going to put Waco on the map with a little tiny business that hopefully represents the youth who want their music to be heard and their arts to be heard.”

Cardoso said he views his customers as his family, and he loves the faith they have that things will improve.

“They want Waco to get better, and maybe I’m just like a seed in that,” Cardoso said. “Oftentimes, the feedback I get is that I’m representing a group of people who live here that love their city and believe in it.”

Cardoso said he doesn’t believe you can change your future by sitting on the couch. In the past 18 months, he has traveled to 30 states with John Tefteller — the No. 1 rare blues music collector in the world — searching for records to expand his collection.

“I think that acquiring 200,000 records will allow me to make a living, own a building and hit that donative mark,” Cardoso said. “I want a building where I could provide shelter, sell records on the bottom floor, and I’d love a third floor where nonprofits could come have meetings and talk about their organizations without having to pay those monthly expenses.”

Tefteller has been collecting and dealing records since 1972, and he first met Cardoso when he inherited his aunt’s collection. Although Tefteller hasn’t owned a record store, he said he wanted to share his expertise and lend a helping hand to Cardoso because he admires his unique business model.

“Most record stores are in business to make money, and they make money if they can, but they’re not out there donating funds to nonprofits, women’s shelters or things like that,” Tefteller said. “He’s always had a good heart for helping people, which is why I wanted to help him.”

Tefteller said he expects Cardoso to be very successful, because in the short time since Vintage Mío has been open, the store has generated traction that brings customers specifically to Waco.

“Since he’s been open in Waco, he’s got people coming in from all over Texas and surrounding states,” Tefteller said. “It’s becoming a word-of-mouth place to go — just like those Silos are a stopping place for Waco. He has added to that and become the record stop in Texas.”

Tefteller said he thinks there is nowhere for Cardoso to go but up, and Vintage Mío will continue to grow even more than it has since it opened less than a year ago.

“There’s plenty of people out there that own record stores, but I haven’t seen somebody who works that many hours with that kind of effort and dedication in a long, long time,” Tefteller said. “He’s a great guy who’s doing it right. He’s honest. He’s fair. He puts other people ahead of himself and accomplishes a whole lot.”

The power of music to unite people regardless of their background, faith or political views is something Cardoso said he enjoys witnessing in the shop on a regular basis. To Cardoso, the community and donations his store has cultivated serve as proof that he has succeeded and made an impact with his business.

“I find it remarkable how music and records can bring good people together and that with the sale of these things, we can make good things happen,” Cardoso said.