In rotation: 12/9/20

Boise, ID | The Rebound: The Record Exchange offers new ways to shop during pandemic: Businesses across the country and here in Idaho are adapting to COVID-19 restrictions by giving customers more options to shop or browse than ever before. Boise staple The Record Exchange has been open for over four decades, offering one-of-a-kind gifts, music, and more. The store closed when the pandemic started and reopened a little later than other area businesses, telling Idaho News 6 they wanted to make sure everyone, not only the customers, felt safe. “We really wanted to focus on what the CDC was suggesting and what we felt the staff would be comfortable with as far as safety in here so we immediately started the mask rule, the hand sanitizing rule, the limited capacity,” explains Michael Bunnell, owner of The Record Exchange. Those safety measures have continued through the pandemic and during Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. The store offered appointments for one of its biggest shopping weekends of the year to limit how many people were browsing at once and make sure everyone was spaced out in line with social distancing rules. Some of the other measures include new ways to get your purchases home.

St. Louis Park, MN | SolSta Records Needles Into a New Location: On the eve of their 4 year anniversary, SolSta Records is doing something unique, especially during difficult times. The City Pages “Best Place to Buy Vinyl” winner is moving into a new location in St. Louis Park, expanding to over 2,000 square feet of retail space. For Phil and Hannah Borreson, the growth is bittersweet. Their cozy Minnehaha neighborhood location was a proven successful start to the business, filling their shelves, basement, and a blue Rockin’ Roller Bus with vinyl records. But they also see the potential of more retail space as a way to expand their inventory and grow their “Live at the Record Room” venue space. For many audiophiles, the new location will feel familiar. The Needle Doctor moved to the 6006 Excelsior Boulevard spot in 2010 and closed in November 2019 after being the resource of a wide array of turntable components, including record player needles, or styluses. SolSta Records will fill out the store with turntables, vintage magazines, cassettes, clothing, and an ever-growing collection of new and used records.

New York, NY | How Black-Owned Record Stores Helped Create Community: What was it like for Black American music lovers during the age of segregation to find a place they could call their own? Music retailer Tower Records, which closed all of its U.S. locations in 2006, recently made a comeback. Sort of. This time around, Tower is online only. It’s a nice blast from the past, but for all of the benefits of the online experience, there’s something missing—the feeling of community that forms in a record store. That feeling has a long history. For Black Americans living in the South in the 1960s and 1970s, record stores represented more than music. Black-owned record stores in particular, according to historian Joshua Clark Davis, formed “a consumer culture in which African Americans found respect, community, and a vibrant public life.” The Civil Rights Era saw the rise of Black-owned businesses across the United States, due in part to the larger trend of connecting political freedom to economic freedom. Record-store ownership, particularly in the South, was part of that, as Davis explains.

Tucson, AZ | Around the Corner: The birth of Hurricane Records: Hurricane Records is a well-known record store located along Historic Fourth Avenue in Tucson, Arizona. This shop is owned by Tucson local, Rich Hopkins and is recognized for its new and used vinyl records, CDs, turntables, speakers, compact amps, vintage receivers and more. The birth of Hurricane Records can be linked back to a fifth grader’s Christmas present. When Hopkins was 11 years old, he woke up Christmas morning pleased to see that one of his gifts consisted of the Beach Boys record, Surfin’ Safari. As a young musician, this sparked his interest in the world of music and eventually led to the start of his own record collection. Hopkins started his music career in the late 1980s. He worked to progress his music skills by focusing on singing, songwriting and playing the guitar. Eventually, he was able to start up his first band, The Sidewinders. This local rock band from Tucson, Arizona caught the attention of two major record labels, RCA Records and Polydor Records, and resulted in being signed. They released two major-label albums and scored two radio hits in the United States.

UK | #Loverecordstores Reveal Their Top 100 Independent Albums Of The Year: The Campaign Has Dropped Their Top 100 Independent Albums Of 2020. On Thursday 26th March, during the first wave if the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns the music community launched the high profile, global initiative to help independent record stores during the crisis. Many independent record stores faced a catastrophic drop in custom due to having to close doors during the lockdown, there was a genuine fear that many would have to close their doors permanently if nothing was done to stimulate sales. Many music companies and celebrities (including Elton John, Paul Weller and Kate Tempest) pledged their support to this campaign. The #loverecordstores hashtag was created and used by the wider music community to encourage music lovers and fans to shop online whilst in lockdown. The campaign was and is hugely successful and culminated in a day-long event on 20th June, featuring over 130 independent record stores. The day saw dozens of new and reissued vinyl release from the likes of Oasis, Radiohead and Arctic Monkeys, not to mention generating £1m in revenue.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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