In rotation: 5/11/20

Denver, CO | Here’s How Denver Record Stores Are Reopening for Business: On Thursday, May 7, the folks at Twist & Shout turned on the record store’s phones for the first time in nearly two months. Owner Paul Epstein says it started ringing immediately, with customers wanting to order music for curbside orders, which the store will start taking on Monday, May 11. “My feeling is people are hungry for something normal again,” he says. “We can’t give them normal yet. You’re going to have to wait and work with us on this fear. We’re all going have to kind of crawl our way back and figure out what normal is again.” Epstein says he’s not exactly sure when Twist & Shout will let customers inside the store, but he’ll be looking hard at science and medicine and talking to his employees. “We’re going to be super slow, super careful and make sure everything works before we do it,” he says. “We’re not going to just throw stuff at the wall and see what happens.”

San Diego, CA | Legendary San Diego Record Shop Reopens For Socially-Distanced Crate-Digging: The music is back on outside Folk Arts Rare Records after almost two months closed. The record shop has served San Diego in various locations for over fifty years. But the record-buying experience, usually marked by crate-digging for that rare classic, is not quite in line with social distancing guidelines handed down by the state. So owner Brendan Boyle has devised a new way for shoppers to browse. “We can’t have people inside the store, not yet, so everything is visual. We’re trying to recreate the experience of being in the store, but doing it on the outside of the window here and doing it in a very safe manner,” he explained. This intrepid reporter was looking for a soul record on this May gray afternoon, as Boyle held up records to choose from. “If you want to stop at anytime and talk about a record, just say. ‘Hey what’s that?’” he told me as he held up LP after LP.

Santa Monica, CA | Curbside Pickup Now at Record Surplus: We’re happy to let you know that starting May 8th you may pickup curbside from Record Surplus. This news comes after we’ve been closed for the past seven weeks due to the coronavirus shutdown orders from the City of Los Angeles. The City has begun to lift some restrictions, and now we are permitted to offer curbside pickups. The City of L.A. is not yet allowing record shops to have customers inside their stores. But here are several ways you may shop at Record Surplus right now. …You can have your order shipped to you, or you may choose to pick it up curbside. Please contact us and be sure to confirm when you may pickup. We have over 100,000 Vinyl Records and CDs in the store, and look forward to helping you find new music you will love! Get rock, jazz, hip hop, soul, blues, classical, international, latin, reggae, oldies, country, soundtracks and more!

Winnipeg, CA | Record Sales: Osborne Village record store enjoying steady business since reopening: Love music and hip fits? Sad about event cancellations this spring and summer? Fear not. Urban Waves and Old Gold Vintage Vinyl have everything you need to beat-down the COVID-19 blues. For 30 years, the Osborne Village store has been selling “whimsical t-shirts, sunglasses, body jewelry, fresh doodads” – and most recently stacks of awesome records. After being closed during the pandemic shutdown, the store has been reopened for several days, and is enjoying steady business. Co-owner Brent Jackson said the shop might not have survived more time in lockdown. “Four months at the most,” he said. “We rely on a lot of foot traffic and locals walking in the door for hand to hand business. And then when we were ordered to close – we don’t really sell anything online – so we were facing a big, scary problem. This has been a traumatic experience.”

New York, NY | When will stores reopen in NYC? In-person shopping is going to look very different: “We’re not very optimistic about opening up in May.” …Similar to shopping a bookstore, browsing a record shop for new gems to add to your music arsenal is also hands-on. A1 Record Shop veterans Shef and Jeremy, who have manned the shop for over 15 years, are already planning one way to provide customers with a similar record shop experience in this new normal—whether folks are physically coming inside the store or not this summer. “Sifting through inventory in a record store is really what is enjoyable about record shopping for a lot of people. So, we’re wanting to create record starter packs, to keep that element of surprise. It would be, say, 50 disco records for 100 bucks, with packs across all genres. A starter pack for classic soul, another for new wave, golden era hip hop, classic rock and so on. It’s a way you can still buy blindly for a cheap rate, and it gives people a chance to sift through a bag of things they might not know.”

Montreal, CA | Montreal book and record stores went online, but not all eager to reopen after lockdown: ‘I don’t feel comfortable opening the store if I don’t feel I can protect my employees and protect my customers,’ says Aux 33 Tours owner. Within 48 hours of the provincial government shutting down all non-essential stores across the province in March, the folks at Aux 33 Tours had created a full-scale web store with close to 80,000 records for sale online. And reaction was swift and enthusiastic, with the Mont-Royal Ave. E. store, one of the city’s leading vinyl retailers, receiving a flood of orders. Aux 33 Tours, which didn’t sell online before the COVID-19 crisis, uses several different delivery methods, including Canada Post for faraway deliveries and drivers here in Montreal who are delivering around 100 packages around the city every day. Stores in Montreal will be allowed to reopen May 25 under Premier François Legault’s plan, but Aux 33 Tours owner Pierre Markotanyos doesn’t think he’ll open that day and is unsure when he’ll reopen his doors.

Goshen, IN | Goshen record store reschedules concerts, offers shopping by appointment: Music enthusiast and record store owner Julie Hershberger misses conversations with her customers most. “I have very loyal regular customers and I haven’t seen a lot of them in a while and a lot of them are older individuals. I’m worried about them and I just want to go back to talking about music and learning things from each other,” Hershberger said. Hershberger, who owns and runs Ignition Music Garage in downtown Goshen, closed down the record store for about a month and a half when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The record store, which doubles as a music venue, also lost its long line-up of shows as touring artists and musicians put their plans on hold. “We’re doing our best to get all of the shows that were previously booked rescheduled and we’ve had two cancellations thus far,” Hershberger said, adding that about 14 shows need rescheduling.

Seattle, WA | When coronavirus dealt Seattle record stores their latest blow, Easy Street Records got creative: It’s impossible to know how many miles are on the Easy Street Records van. The odometer on the 1990 Ford Econoline has turned over more times than your favorite Pearl Jam record. Based on Seattle music lore, the old plumber’s van that Easy Street boss Matt Vaughan purchased when he opened his since-shuttered Queen Anne location has as many stories as a Rolling Stones roadie. Friend of the shop Eddie Vedder has driven it around after events at the store. Blues-rock hooligan Reignwolf mounted the van for a set in the middle of the field during Sasquatch! Music Festival. Macklemore “climbed all over it” the day he and Ryan Lewis commemorated the release of their career-defining album “The Heist” with a performance on the Queen Anne store’s roof, Vaughan said. And like the immortal Keith Richards, the sticker-splattered rockmobile is still ticking.

UK | Record Store Day launches virtual music club in support of UK record shops: Need proof that social distancing is bringing us closer together? Record Store Day UK, Official Charts and National Album Day have teamed up to launch a virtual music club featuring exclusive interviews with artists in lockdown. The fortnightly Record Club will be taking place on Facebook Live every other Wednesday at 6.30pm, and live-streamed simultaneously across the Record Store Day UK, Official Charts and National Album Day Facebook feeds (@RSDayUK / @OfficialCharts / @AlbumDayUK). The Record Club kicked off last night (watch it back here) with British Japanese artist Rina Sawayama, and continues on Wednesday 20th May with a chat with Sleaford Mods. Much like Richard and Judy’s book club, the idea is that viewers order each Record Club album from a record shop ahead of the broadcast, then tune in to hear from the artist and submit their own questions.

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