April 10, 2009
New record store shakes up Adams Street
BY Kate Giammarise
There’s a comfy-looking, beat-up red couch in one corner, and crates of records lined up along the wall for easy browsing.
A Burning Brides CD is playing over the sound system.
A quick glance through what’s in stock shows everything from Bob Marley, Rancid, the Sex Pistols, Fiona Apple and Pennywise to Mariah Carey.
Welcome to Shakin’ Street Records, where one local business owner is hoping he can overcome a poor economy and a tough market for independent music stores.
The venture, located at 1503 Adams St., opened at the end of January, a new addition to Toledo’s Uptown neighborhood.
Owner Broc Curry lives nearby on 16th Street.
"I’ve always really liked this area," he said. "It has been great to see it blossom over the last couple of years." The Uptown Adams Street corridor, which links Downtown and the artsy Old West End neighborhood, is home to several popular bars and restaurants, such as Wesley’s, Manhattan’s, Mano’s and the Ottawa Tavern.
Curry said he hopes having a record store will encourage other small businesses, such as a bookstore or coffee shop, to locate nearby.
Shakin’ Street sells mostly used CDs, as well as vinyl records. Curry said he also wants to focus on special orders for customers - "the things they can’t find at Best Buy," he said.
Part of what the store sells is really the record store experience.
"I feel like this is the kind of place where you can browse, not just rush in and pick something up," said Ian Robedeau, a clerk at the store.
Curry is undaunted by a weak economy and slowing music sales. "So far, I haven’t seen a lot of issues with [the economy]." We’ve had a lot of people in here every day."
Curry said he believes music fans will support a local business such as his.
"I do think these kind of places can definitely flourish," he said.
"I would encourage people to come in, hang out, even just browse."
Many independent record stores have struggled in recent years because of low prices offered at big box retailers, and the growing number of music buyers doing their shopping online.
However, "an independent music store, if they do it right, cater to the community and have a deeper selection can be successful," said Joel Oberstein, president of the Almighty Institute of Music Retail, a music market research company based in Los Angeles. While running an independent store is a challenge, many successful smaller stores have done well by selling used CDs and vinyl, as Shakin’ Street is.
In Ohio, there are 580 total music retailers, of which 81 are independently owned. In Michigan, there are 521 music retailers, of those, 55 are independently owned, according to Oberstein.
"[Independent store owners] have to be savvy business people at this point," he said. "You can’t just be a music lover who opens a store,"
Stacy Jurich, executive director of Toledo Choose Local, a non-profit group that promotes the benefits of buying locally, said supporting independent businesses with consumer dollars is an important way of making an investment in the community.
"When people go to [big-box retailers] to buy their music and books, they are jeopardizing our opportunity to have a unique shopping experience and sending their dollars straight out of Toledo," Jurich wrote in an e-mail interview. "Independent businesses like Shakin’ Street Records are here because they care about Toledo, they want to improve the culture and viability of the Uptown District, they want people around here to have a cool place to shop for music that isn’t a giant box that you find in every other city in America."
Rob Kimple, who owns RamaLama Records near Central Avenue and Secor Road in the Cricket West plaza, said the music lovers who patronize independents like his believe in supporting local stores, and often want to hold the product in their hands — which obviously isn’t possible when buying music online.
He said he believes the store caters to serious music fans, while more causal listeners probably get their music elsewhere.
"The people that come in here, music is akin to food to them," Curry said.
Shakin’ Street Records is located at 1503 Adams St., (419) 724-3333, www.shakinstrecords.com.
Used CDs range from 99 cents to $8.99 and vinyl from $1 to 10 for $5. All used CDs are guaranteed.
Permission granted by copyright holder for this express use only.
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