In rotation: 1/7/21

Indianapolis, IN | Fountain Square record store to nearly double in size, add kitchen: A Fountain Square record store plans to add a kitchen as part of its expansion into a neighboring retail space. Square Cat Vinyl, 1054 Virginia Ave., plans to nearly double in size, adding about 2,400 square feet that was previously occupied by Vintage Vogue, a Goodwill store for fashionable second-hand clothing that closed in March 2020. The record store presently occupies one half of the roughly 5,100-square-foot building and has reached an agreement with Carmel-based property owner North Hill Realty LLC to take over the rest, co-owner Patrick Burtch told IBJ. The store’s expansion will allow it to spread out its product offerings, as well as build a kitchen at the rear of the space. The additional space will also allow Square Cat to expand its coffee and alcohol bar. The expansion also creates an opportunity for the business to offer live music—a staple for several businesses in the neighborhood—although that might not occur immediately after the expansion. Square Cat opened in 2016 and is currently owned by self-proclaimed “vinyl dorks” Burtch and Mike Angel.

Madison, WI | The Door is a heavy hideaway in Monona: The small record store focuses on metal and punk. The Madison area’s newest record store occupies an elusive notch in a Monona strip mall. To find The Door, you go down a short alley at 4509 Monona Drive, through a dark hallway, and into a small room where owner John Sands deals in a compact but impressive selection that focuses heavily on punk and metal LPs, both used and new. To go with the strange space, there’s also a warped sense of humor. An old gas-station sign reading “NIGHT LUBRICATION” hangs ominously over a case of DVDs, and the store currently has a Limp Bizkit CD on sale behind the counter for $699.99. Sands jokes that when new customers succeed in finding the store, “they’ll be like, ‘oh, I know why the rent’s so cheap.'” The Door opened in June 2020. Currently its hours are a little sporadic and announced through The Door’s Facebook page, as Sands balances the business with his responsibilities as a stay-at-home dad. Sands would eventually like to have the store open Thursday through Saturday. To some extent, The Door fills the void left behind by downtown’s Ear Wax Records, which closed in fall 2018. Most of Madison’s record stores carry at least a small selection of heavy music, but like Ear Wax before it, The Door is the only one that treats metal and punk as its first priorities.

Westchester, IL | We Buy Records All-Vinyl Record Store Coming to Westchester, Illinois: We Buy Records, an all-vinyl record store, is set to open on Roosevelt Road in Westchester, IL in 2021. An original opening date of Spring 2020 was delayed due to the pandemic. They will buy and sell strictly used vinyl records (LPs and 45s), with a special focus on soul, jazz, funk, dance, and rock music. We Buy Records, a strictly vinyl record store with a flagship location in Milwaukee, is set to open its second shop on Roosevelt Road in Westchester, IL in 2021. An original opening date of Spring 2020 was delayed due to the pandemic. Owners Andy Noble and Brian Cote used the delay to purchase thousands more hard-to-find vinyl LPs and 45s to add to their opening stock. We Buy Records will focus on used records exclusively, mainly covering 1960s to present day rock, soul, jazz, disco, new wave, blues, and dance music genres. As inferred by their name, the owners say a large focus of their business will be buying used record collections both at the store and by making house calls to sellers with larger collections. Co-owner Noble says it isn’t uncommon for them to see collections as large as 10,000 LPs or as small as five to ten 7″ singles in the same week.

Canton, OH | North Canton record shop owners push through pandemic problems with music: Starting a business isn’t easy and doing it during a global pandemic is even harder. But that didn’t stop one North Canton family from stepping out on faith to bring the healing power of music to their community. Surrounded by talented artists, both global and local, Josh Harris is living out his dream as the owner of Dr. Frankenstein’s House of Wax, a record store he opened with his wife Stacey in June 2020. “I just love everything about music because you can get lost in it,” Josh Harris said. “Vinyl right now is coming back in a major way. It’s actually outselling digital music three times to one.” But that’s only part of the reason why the Harris family decided to open a business in the midst of a pandemic. “It’s something that he’s been kicking around for a few years and we finally just took the opportunity to do it,” Stacey Harris said. Josh Harris’ work as a machinist started to slow down at the beginning of 2020 and Stacey Harris’ did too, so they decided to take a risk to support their family.

Shanghai, CN | Shanghai shops make good money with nostalgia marketing: There are plenty of things that can ignite a feeling of nostalgia, from smells, sounds to sights. Some smart people in Shanghai are making nostalgia into a business by selling old stuff to customers. It could be 1969 when The Beatles’ Abbey Road spills out of a vinyl store. But this two-year-old shop in Shanghai, named Raccoon Records, has sales of 1,500 vinyl discs a month in its peak season. Even the Millennials and the Generation Zs’ are eating it up. “Last time I listened to records was 20 years ago when I was in middle school,” Mr. Jia, a visitor to the store said. “There are lots of ways to listen to digital now, but there’s something special about the quality with vinyl.” “I used to listen to records when I was very little,” Ms. Yue, another visitor said. “You rarely see record stores like this anymore. It’s very nostalgic and has better sound quality.” Restoring the old records provides the shop with extra income. Zhang Wei, the founder, and CEO of Raccoon Records says the shop has received more than 300 orders for its restoration service. “There’s no one else doing disc restoring,” Zhang Wei said. “A lot of people buy vinyl records, but they don’t know how to protect them.”

Pay Tribute to the Legendary MF DOOM with These Vinyl Records: As if 2020 hadn’t reaped enough destruction, in its last hours it was revealed that we’d lost one of hip-hop’s most respected players. News of MF DOOM’s passing landed when the late rapper’s wife posted through his Instagram page on December 31st 2020, though it has since been confirmed that Daniel Dumile, AKA MF DOOM, had passed away months before, on October 31st. Known for his lyrical content, complex rhyming, production, and, most of all, unmistakable metal mask, MF DOOM leaves an indelible mark on the world of music and culture as a whole. And, while many took to social media to mourn the loss and remember him with visuals, we think there’s only one real way to honor the man behind the mask, and that’s on wax. In homage to the all caps man, we took to the net to bag some of the supervillain’s greatest tracks on record. These MF DOOM records stretch from 1999 through to 2018 and contain some of the artist’s most memorable moments, from the iconic Operation: Doomsday through to lauded collaborative releases like Madvillainy.

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