Turney and his fiancé and co-founder of Deja Vu, Victoria or “Vickie,” opened the doors to the spacious, inviting audiophile oasis on Herschel Avenue in January, and have since settled in quite nicely. Originally from Alexandria, VA, Turney was living in the Williamsburg area of New York until this past September. His initial plan was to have a similar high-end audio space and jazz club in that area, which would have provided an ideal market for the young entrepreneurs, but – wanting to be closer to his three young children – decided that La Jolla was the perfect destination.
“I was traveling back-and-forth to see the kids so frequently, so one night Vickie posed the question ‘Why don’t we just move to San Diego?’ Without hesitation, I agreed, which is highly unlike me.”
Beginning his record collection at age 12, having inherited his love of jazz, Motown, and soul from his parents, Turney would continue this passion throughout his life. After working in finance for the better shade of two decades, Turney saw an opportunity to pursue a lifelong passion.
“My father really instilled the bug in me,” said Turney. “Once I began the collection, I was hooked. After that, all I wanted to do was get the perfect setup and sounds to listen to said records.”
The storefront, though not initially part of his concept, is extremely inviting to both audiophiles and simply those who catch a glimpse of the symmetrical, precise layout. Everything in its proper place. While the future Turneys will eventually sell vinyl, currently, they are specializing in four large open spaces with his record collection and several high-end audio setups per the acoustics of each room.
A middle-aged couple seems particularly interested in two massive vintage speakers.
“Can we hear one song before we leave,” asks the wife.
“Sure,” Turney responds excitedly. “What are you guys into? Do you like Sinatra?”
“No!” both say in unison. Turney laughs, a bit bewildered but probes the question further.
“I’m a jazz guy – do you like any funk or soul?” he asks.
“Not particularly,” the customers continued. “I like old rock,” says the husband.
“Okay. How about Zeppelin?” Turney jumps up to grab a copy of their 1969 self-titled album and lets the needle drop gently. The opening bars of “Good Times, Bad Times” fill the entirety of the room, bringing a smirk to the husband’s face.
Turney, 38, maintains a wealth of knowledge across all genres and media, as seen in his extensive collection. Jazz does seem to be his initial love, however, from the big band classics to jazz with more obscure time signatures and content.
The couple, who live in Del Mar, are truly working at their dream jobs every day. Initially hesitant to include a “storefront,” Turney says that they have been seeing a great deal of traffic at their location off Herschel Avenue.
“The majority of people I speak with every day either got rid of all their vinyl or stored them in boxes in their garage,” said Turney. “What I think is a true shame, is that people in my line of work truly dropped the ball in keeping people interested, and that is what we’re looking to do at Deja Vu. It’s such a tight-knit little world, but it is part of my job to make sure that collectors have access to the proper equipment and trends.”
Deja Vu possesses some rare turntables, speakers, and other equipment, but when prompted as to his favorite piece in the store, Turney quickly runs through a few of his favorites, finally settling on one in particular.
“We have this monolithic vintage electric mono speaker that has been restored by Deja Vu Audio West,” said Turney. “I truly like to put my money where my mouth is, so eventually we will be hosting live music, art, etc. at our location. As of right now, it’s a great place to relax and talk about music.”
The space at Deja Vu is inviting, even to those who may not consider themselves fanatics. It’s nice to sit and experience nostalgia in a physical form, and this is how the young couple presents their space.
“I feel like, with vinyl, there’s this unbelievable relationship,” said Turney. “It replays these vivid images from your life and is why I feel we’ll always be attached to our records. That’s our ultimate goal here – to get people reacquainted with their record collection.”