Between the dawn of recorded music and my arbitrary cut-off year of 1974 there have been lots of independent record stores in the Twin Cities. Here’s an alphabetical list of some of them. Many images have come from the goofy ads in Hundred Flowers; many others come from Go Johnny Go. Also many thanks to everyone on Facebook for providing information and images! Please contact me with any additions, corrections, and especially stories about these crazy, wonderful record stores!
Aardvark Records, Central and Lowry, Minneapolis
The Acme Record Shop, 7 E 26th Street in Minneapolis. The store advertised in Hundred Flowers in 1971. Co-owner Bob Bader wrote to say:
I was one of the three original partners. We opened in January of 1971 (I was a high school senior). My partners were in their sophomore year at the U. It was a real learning experience for me to say the least. As I recall, it was the site of the original Wax Museum. Dan and Dave were the Wax owners. Nice guys. They moved over to Lake Street. One of my partners in the record shop was a partner in the Acme Film Society that was next door. They showed old movies on Friday and Sat nite for a buck a person. A lot of fun in cramped conditions. You had to be young and flexible to sit on the carpeted floor in there for 2 hours.
We used to run our 3 for $10 record sales once a month on a Friday and Saturday night to coincide with the Film Society movies. We moved a lot of records on those evenings but didn’t make much profit, maybe 25 cents a record, but we had fun and made a lot of friends. We sold many more used records than new. A used record in perfect condition, no scratches, would go for $1.90. I remember the best sellers that year for us were Carole King’s Tapestry, Rolling Stone’s Sticky Fingers and Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story.
I used to close the store for 15 minutes in the evenings and run over to the Black Forest, that was a couple of doors down on 26th & Nicollet, and have a quick beer. Pretty exciting for a 17 year old kid. They never carded me probably because I was a regular. We were also regulars at Little Tijuana that was a couple of doors down 26th street. Their cook’s name was Smokey. A real nice guy.
We ran the store from January thru September of 1971 and sold out to a couple of friends so we could go to the U. I have no idea what they did with it after that.
Bob’s lived out of the state for 30 years but still roots for the Vikings! Thanks for the info and memories, Bob!
Aliens – West 7th Street, St. Paul
Anderson’s Hi Fi, Hub Shopping Center, Richfield
Anomie, 9th and LaSalle, Minneapolis. As this ad from Hundred Flowers tells us, this (whatever) opened on June 16, 1970. Hopefully there were truly no busts!
Applause – Snelling and Ashland Avenues, St. Paul, various locations in Uptown, Minneapolis
Arcade Song Shop, 116 Loeb Arcade, 5th and Hennepin, Minneapolis. The Loeb Arcade was built in 1914 and demolished in 1967. James Lileks of the StarTribune calls it the original indoor shopping mall.
Backbeat Discs – 25th and Hennepin, Minneapolis; Ford Parkway and Cleveland Ave., St. Paul
Bassment – East Hennepin and 5th Street NE; Lake and Lyndale, Minneapolis
Boutell’s on Marquette and 5th Street in Minneapolis advertised a new phonograph put out by Brunswick in 1918. One innovation was Ultona, an all-record reproducer. Implied is that records of the time were not consistent and previously had required separate needles and even separate players. Price was $45 to $1,500. Unclear whether Boutell’s actually sold records as well.
Burk’s Music Shop, St. Paul in the 1950s:
- 12 West 6th Street at Wabasha/
- 400 Wabasha at Sixth
- 114 East 7th Street at Robert
Burk’s Records, 473 No. Snelling Ave., St. Paul
Campus Record Shop, Minneapolis
Cannabis, St. Paul: Rice Street and Arlington; Forest and Maryland
Capital Music Shop – Moved from 13 East 7th Street to 298 Wabasha, St. Paul, on November 22, 1923
The Chicago-Lake Records was in operation in early 1971 according to Hundred Flowers.
Cordelli’s, 7th and Broadway, St. Paul?
Country Comforts was included in an ad in a Fall 1972 Insider.
- Karmel Blvd.
- 617 West Lake Street
- 2901 Lyndale Ave. So.
Dee’s Record Center, Minneapolis
DISC AND NEEDLE
- 1439/1451 W. Lake Street at Hennepin, Minneapolis
- 5006 France Ave., Edina
The St. Louis Park High School Echo of March 18, 1953, included an ad for Disc & Needle: “You Can Always Get the Hits.”
Discount Records, 323 – 14th Ave. SE., Dinkytown.
Dixieland Record Heaven, 2227 E. 35th St., Minneapolis
DJ’s Music Emporium, Grand Ave. and Lake Street, Minneapolis
A chronology of Don Leary’s career is fraught with contradictory information, but here goes:
- Leary opened his first record store on Nicollet Island in 1931.
- In 1941 Homer Capehart Sr., sales manager of the Wurlitzer Co., asked him to put a few jukeboxes in Minneapolis establishments such as drug stores, ice-cream parlors, youth centers, and bars. Leary was able to place a new jukebox every week for Capehart.
- A 1943 ad indicates that the Nicollet Island store was called Don Leary’s Automatic Sales Co., selling “Everything from Bach to Boogie Woogie.”
- On October 23, 1947, St. Louis Park teens attended an Edina Teen Canteen at 50th and Wooddale, where there was something called a Disk Jockey Joggle with Leary as emcee. Apparently kids competed to be disk jockeys, with the grand prize winner to appear on Don Leary’s radio show.
- In 1948 WDGY presented remote broadcasts of national acts from his record and radio store on Nicollet Island (see photos, 1948 below).
- Apparently he was also a musician; a note in the St. Louis Park Echo says that after the Edina-St. Louis Park Football game on September 21, 1951, students from both schools were invited to a Jam Session in the Edina gym with Don Leary’s Band.
- In 1953 Leary had stores on the Island and on Hennepin Ave. and was advertising TV antennas in the local version of TV Guide.
- From 1954-58 Leary owned a record store at the Miracle Mile Shopping Center in St. Louis Park. It was billed as a “drive in,” referring to a passageway to the rear parking lot.
- In 1956 Variety rated Leary one of the top 20 record dealers in the country.
- Leary sold his Miracle Mile location in 1958
- In July 1971 he opened a new store in the St. Anthony Shopping Center, 2927 NE Pentagon Drive.
- He closed the St. Anthony store in 1989
- Leary died in 2000 at the age of 92.
DON’S RECORDS AND HI-FI
Don’s Records and Hi-Fi: In 1958 E.F. Sandberg bought Don Leary’s record store at Miracle Mile for his son Don to operate, and it became Don’s Records and Hi-Fi. The Grand Opening, held on April 24-26, 1958, featured 12,000 records and offered orchids to the ladies and candy for the kids. (Men apparently never got anything at these Grand Openings.) Appearances were made by Disk Jockeys Roy Carr (WTCN), Jim Boysen (WLOL), and Stanley Mack (WDGY). Beverly Reinicke, who had worked for Don Leary for the last three years, was announced as an employee of the new store. An ad in the April 23, 1958, St. Louis Park High Echo announced the grand opening with much hep cat patois.
Inside of Don’s Records, 1962, courtesy Steve Brown Inside of Don’s Records, 1962, courtesy Steve Brown
Down in the Valley, Golden Valley Shopping Center, 8020 Olson Memorial Highway at Winnetka. As the ad below says, “Since 1972.” Still a going concern today. There are also locations in Maple Grove and Crystal.
W.J. Dyer & Bros. In October 1922, this store was listed at 28 West 5th Street or 485 Jay Street, in St. Paul. By October 1923 they had perhaps consolidated at 21-27 West 5th Street, St. Paul. The “Shuffle Along” at the top of the ad below pays homage to the touring company of the Broadway hit “Shuffle Along” that was in town at the time.
Earth – just Earth? 2947 First Ave. So., Minneapolis
Eclipse Records, St. Paul:
- Grand and Snelling
- University and Prior
- 6th and Wabasha
The Edina Record Center held its Grand Opening on June 5, 1958. This “newest and finest suburban record and hi-fi shop” was located at 5011 France Ave. Over 100 prizes were given out, with the grand prize a Webcor Hi-Fi Console.
THE ELECTRIC FETUS
U of M students Ron Korsh and Dan Foley opened the Electric Fetus music store at 521 Cedar Avenue on June 10, 1968, to sell the psychedelic rock music they heard coming out of San Francisco. In 1969 Korsh sold his share to Keith Covart, who is crediting with making the business a long-lasting success. Covart obtained Foley’s half interest in 1978.
One story of the genesis of the name was that it was after the “Electric Lotus” in New York. “It was singled out as the worst name for a business in a national newspaper contest, by National Lampoon, and by author Naseem Javed in his book, Naming For Power,” Covart notes. “But, hey, they remember the name Electric Fetus.”
The store was often in the news. In 1969 police confiscated a poster from the store that depicted John and Yoko’s “Two Virgins” with the heads of President Richard Nixon and his wife placed on the bodies of the naked Lennons.
Notoriety (and low record prices) helped the store to grow, forcing it to seek larger quarters across the street. In October 1969 the store moved into 514 Cedar Avenue. In 1970 Covart was arrested after the store displayed a United States flag with a peace symbol superimposed in the spot usually reserved for the 50 white stars. In 1972 the store was facing eviction and wanted to clear out merchandise. Someone dreamed up a “Streakers’ Sale,” offering free records and “stash pipes” to nude patrons. About 50 people showed up to claim their free merchandise on Saturday, March 25, 1972. Below is a photo of the shop taken in 1971 at 514 Cedar. That building was destroyed in a fire on January 1, 2014.
2000 Fourth Ave. So.
In 1972 it moved to its current location 2000 Fourth Ave. South, and expanded to encompass 2000-2010 4th Avenue South in 1994. Today Electric Fetus still remains a Twin Cities music staple, offering everything from CDs to LPs of new and classic music, live in-store performances, as well as books, gifts and more. The Wall Street Journal named Electric Fetus one of the best vinyl-record stores in America in 2011, and City Pages has consistently named it the best Twin Cities CD store for new music. On September 16, 2010, Rolling Stone named it one of the best record stores in the country.
A very comprehensive history of the Fetus, complete with the nude Nixons, was done in 2006 by Penny A. Peterson and Charlene K. Roise.
Elite Records, Lowry and Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Elliot’s Store, 415 University Ave., St. Paul – Allen L. Rufus, Proprietor
Fancy Colors, 4848 Central Ave. NE, was in an ad in the Twin Cities Express in December 1973.
Matchbook posted on Facebook by David Gordon
Flip Side, St. Paul:
- White Bear Ave.
- Cleveland and Randolph
James Fraction, 311 Wabasha St., St. Paul
F.U.G. Record Sales, 4130 Lyndale Ave. No., was listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider.
- 26th and Nicollet
- Lake and Lyndale
George’s Record Shop, 817 Hennepin Ave. Probably George Garrett, or Uncle George, as Wolfman Jack called him when advertising a record. Had the best selection of be-bop records in the Twin Cities in 1949.
Get Records, Minneapolis
Gimbel’s, St. Paul
Groove Monster, Dinkytown
Gulck’s Record Shop, 221 N Snelling Ave. near Marshall, St. Paul
Hagen’s Music Store was in Hopkins, going back to at least August 1927. According to an ad in the Hennepin County Enterprise, they had 1,200 Brunswick records in stock, selling for 3 for $1.00.
Happy’s – Selby and Snelling, St. Paul
Harpo’s was owned by George Powell. David on Facebook says the original Harpo’s opened in April 1976 and was named after the owner’s dog.
Hart’s, 387 Robert Street, St. Paul
Hazen’s, 33rd and E Lake Street, Minneapolis
Headquarters, Hopkins, was listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider.
Hit City, Central Ave. NE
Hochman’s Music Store, 1401 Sixth Ave. No., Minneapolis. 1923: We carry a full line of Puritan, Federal, Emerson and Black Swan Records. Also Violins, Lamps and Shades.
Hot Licks Records and Stuff was owned by George Powell and had several locations. Some were:
- 7th and Hennepin, Minneapolis
- Hillcrest Shopping Center, St. Paul
- Phalen Shopping Center, St. Paul
- 4907 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park
House of Records, 2938 Nicollet Ave. at West Lake Street, Minneapolis. 1948 to 1952 (at least)
Humble Sounds was on 50th and Bryant in Minneapolis in 1972.
Immaculate Contraptions, Franklin and Lyndale, Minneapolis
In Zane Ltd., Brooklyn Park, was listed in the Twin Cities Express in December 1973.
Iron Moon, 842 Payne Ave. at York, St. Paul
John Kroom, Hopkins
Jughead’s Earl St. Records was listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider. May be the same as The Record Shop, Hudson Road and Earl Street, St. Paul
K and K’s Record Shop was listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider.
Know Name Records started up in 1977 on 6009 Portland Ave. So. in Minneapolis.
LaBelle Music Shop, 8 1/2 So. 8th Street, Minneapolis
Leavitt Music Company, Hamm Building, St. Paul, 1922. “All the new hits first – Get your Dance Records.”
Lehnert’s Piano Co., 525 Wabasha St., St. Paul.
The J.R. Lemieu Piano Co., 625, University Ave. in St. Paul, also sold phonographs and records.
Linehan’s Columbia Shop was owned by Mr. E. Linehan. The store opened in 1918 at 88 East 5th Street, in St. Paul. Between 1922 and 1923 the store moved to 345 Robert Street and apparently changed its name to the Linehan Phonograph Co. It was mostly a phonograph and piano store, but also sold Columbia and Puritan records.
Little Record Shop, 148 East 7th Street, St. Paul
Louise’s Music Store – Grand Ave. between St. Alban’s and Grotto,St. Paul. Michael wrote to say he has fond memories of going into a small booth and playing a new 45 or 78 rpm record in the 1950s and ’60s.
Lyndale Flowers and Records, 36th and Lyndale, Minneapolis
Lyon and Healy – downtown St. Paul, 1940s
McGowan’s, St. Paul.
- 799 Grand Ave.
- 23 West Sixth Street
Main Records was listed in Hundred Flowers in early 1971.
The Majestic Music Company was at 16 South 7th Street in Minneapolis. See another Majestic in St. Paul below.
Majestic Record Shop, 6 West 6th Street, St. Paul.
Maurice’s Record Shop – See Olson Highway Phonograph Record Shop, below.
Mel-O-Dee Music Shop. I had a lot written on this but WordPress ate it.
See Events in the early 1950s for ads for Mel-o-dee that listed R&B songs they were selling.
Minnesota Phonograph Company, 612 Nicollet Ave., 1919
Minnesota Radio-Electronics Service – 5508 Excelsior Blvd. at Highway 100. This is now part of the overpass.
Mr. Bojangles: 37th and Stinson NE, Minneapolis
Mr. Crown’s: 38th Street, Minneapolis
Modern Records: 15th and Nicollet, Minneapolis
Mootz & Schmidt appliance store was located next to the Park Theater in St. Louis Park in 1955-56. In 1956 it ran a contest giving away free 45 rpm records. At the bottom of this ad from December 1955 you can see a hi-fi and a transistor radio. This store may not have lasted very long.
Muses Record Shop, 7 East 26th Street, Minneapolis
In 1968 Music City was “The Big Store with the Little Prices!”
- 700 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
- Wabasha Ave., St. Paul
Music 2, St. Paul:
- Sun Ray Shopping Center
- Phalen Shopping Center
- 7th and Wabasha
The Musicland chain opened in Minneapolis in 1956.
Musicland at Knollwood:
Jeff Kleinbaum says: “Musicland opened there in the mid ’60s across from Young Quinlan. Musicland moved to the center of the remodeled enclosed mall in 1980, then changed names to Sam Goody by the late 90s.” Image below courtesy of Jeff.
New Avenue, Lake Street, Minneapolis
The New England, 8th and Marquette, Minneapolis
Nico-Lake Records was in operation in early 1971 according to Hundred Flowers.
Nightfall, 27th St. and E Lake, Minneapolis
NORTH COUNTRY MUSIC / OAR FOLKJOKEOPUS
In December 1970 St. Louis Park grad Wayne Klayman used money he had saved through Junior and Senior High to open a record store in a house on Lake Street at James Ave. called North Country Music, named after Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country.” Klayman considers it “more of an experiment than a store but we did have customers. I don’t know how but we did.” North Country Music (or simply “North Country” as it was known to its loyal regulars) was a buy and sell used shop but also sold new LPs for an unheard of 25 cents over cost. The 18 year old music freak owner, angered by the high price of music, started the store on a shoestring (and his own personal collection) believing that if you gave people a great deal, they would come. Klayman explains his motivation:
I went to the Wax Museum used record store on 7 corners every day in 1970 and I was so inspired that I wanted to try it myself. They were buying promotional use records from someone in town and often had a “used” copy of a new album before it had been released! This was illegal as hell, but since selling “used” records was new, uncharted territory, the enforcement of selling promotional copies of records was not being done, despite the large sticker glued to each LP cover with the words: “for promotional use only! Not for sale!!” It was a joke. The Wax Museum was buying and reselling a shitload of hot new releases from someone. I mean a lot! My entire collection was largely promos bought at the Wax Museum! And I wasn’t the only one. I was such a regular, they would “hold” a copy of something I wanted until it came in “used” – usually the next day!! “Layla,” the double LP set, was an example. Just out and expensive at $40-$12, I asked whether they’d be getting any “promos” in of that one. They said they’d had it many times but it sells immediately – they agreed to set aside the next copy for me, which they sold for $3.80.
Someone was making HUGE money selling these promos to the Wax and NOT giving them to the people who were supposed to be getting them free of charge. A lot of product went through that place. I suspected that it was a salesman or two at a major distributor that had a huge volume on all labels. When I opened my store I had hoped to find out, but by then the heat was on and I think the well ran dry. I never “bought” promo material from anyone, though I had wanted to. I think it was my salesman at this distributor because he looked familiar to me when he came calling on North Country to open an account. I probably saw him at the Wax on one of his secret visits there. He always denied it though…it was quite the scam while it was going! At least 100 – 150 LPs each week! At $1 each? In 1970? All pure profit. The Wax sold them for $2! They were essentially new. Not shrink wrapped but never touched or played.
The first day North Country was open, with no advertising or promotion, the entire inventory sold out and the store closed until it was restocked the following day. This went on until the store became self-sustaining. During that time the store sponsored a concert at the Minneapolis Armory, bringing in the bands the MC5 and SRC on April 16, 1971.
At the end of April 1971, burglars stole the store’s $1,500 stock. Police caught one of the robbers selling the records out of his station wagon at Lake Calhoun a few days later – he had forgotten to take off the North Country Stickers. The Insider reported that “Klayman recovered enough stock to pay off all bills. He was even, disillusioned, and determined not to go back into business.”
But in July 1971 Wayne convinced Doug Ackerman to front him $300 worth of records and he reopened North Country at 2118 Lyndale Ave. So. in a former flooring store. Again it was an instant success, and Saturdays were often so busy it was hard to turn around.
The Electric Fetus picketed the store, saying it wasn’t being fair charging so little. A city-wide price war among headshops was detailed in an article in the September 1972 Insider.
By March 1972 North Country had so outgrown 2118 Lyndale that customers couldn’t turn around. One of Klayman’s employees spotted the for rent sign down the block at 2557 and as soon as he saw it he rented it. They moved in the middle of the night and reopened the next morning.
Klayman operated his store until February 1973, when he sold it to Vern Sanden, a regular customer at North Country. Klayman remembers:
Vernon was a middle aged man, very conservative looking, who worked as an air traffic controller – a very unlikely looking future underground record store owner. But he loved music, especially British underground, as I did. He would come into North Country every day to see what new “used” stuff we had. He said my store was the kind of store he would love to own. A place owned by music freaks who were knowledgeable and passionate. A place where fellow music freaks could hang out and talk music with no pressure to buy anything. That was my vision and that was what North Country was all about. Vern liked us so much, he often asked me, “If you ever want to sell North Country, I’d like to buy it.” I never really thought I would want to, but I was 19, and working seven days a week so I kept his offer on my back burner. Then, in early ’73, I had an offer to move to California and work for a record chain. It sounded tempting and Vern was still eager to buy me out, and a few months later, he did.
[Sanden renamed it “Oar Folkjokeopus,” a name based on the solo album “Oar” by “Skip” Spence of Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape, and an album by British folk musician Roy Harper, “Folkjokeopus.”] Vern clearly took the store and personality that I built and made it a very successful and popular store with his own brand and signature and that unusual name. I give him much credit for that, but he also bought a turn-key business that had loyal paying customers on the very first day, for a song. The foundation had already been laid for him. He turned a profit on day one. A pretty sweet deal for him, and not such a good deal for me. But I was young and dumb and wanted a change and that’s OK. But I was always a bit miffed that he never once referred to me or my store as ever having existed.
Peter Jesperson managed Oar Folk from 1974 until 1984. Jesperson co-founded Twin/Tone Records during this time and the store as well as the label thrived due in large part to each other. Between Twin/Tone, local venue The Longhorn and Oar Folk, this trifecta largely fueled the punk and rock scene in Minneapolis during that era. Bands such as The Replacements, the Suburbs, Flamin’ Oh’s, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, Jayhawks, and Curtiss A all maintained links between the three.
In 1984 a fire completely gutted Oar Folk, and all of its staff left. Vern Sanden reopened the record store with the help of Mark Trehus, who ran his own indie record label, Treehouse Records.
After Oar Folkjokeopus closed in April 2001, Mark Trehus opened a store at the same site known as Treehouse Records.
- 7th and Hennepin, Minneapolis
- Pascal and University, St. Paul
- Hillcrest Shopping Center, St. Paul
Northside Music & Jewelry Store, 716 Sixth Ave. No., Minneapolis
Northwestern Music House, 1027 Nicollet Ave. This shop sold Brunswick phonographs and records. President was D.W. Boland. Ad spotted in a January 22, 1921, issue of the Masonic Observer.
Oar Folkjokeopus – see North Country Music Above
Oblivion Records, 247 Cedar Ave. So., Minneapolis. Mike Justen and Dennis Bursch opened the Oblivion Record Store with 50 albums in the front of the old Scholar Coffeehouse on the West Bank in 1969. The building became a series of restaurants and is now a parking lot for the Theater in the Round.
Odd Merchants was listed in an ad in the Insider in Fall 1972.
Old Laughing Lady, 1677 Grand Ave. at Snelling, St. Paul
The Olson Highway Phonograph Record Shop, 1307 OMH, began to advertise in the Minneapolis Spokesman in 1945. Also known as Maurice’s Record Shop (Maurice T. Strong, proprietor), it sold Swing, Sweet Blues, and Spirituals.
The Optic Nerve, 1431 W. Lake Street
Pasha Poi, 1666 Grand Ave. at Snelling, St. Paul. Listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider.
The Peyer Music Company, 64 East 6th Street, St. Paul. This store was stocked with Black Swan records in 1922; “The only records using Negro voices and Negro musicians.”
Pipeseller, Brookdale Shopping Center, presumably also sold records; it was listed in a Stone Bleu ad in the Twin Cities Express in December 1973.
- Lake and Lyndale
Positively Fourth Street, 805 Fourth Street SE, was included in an ad in the Insider from the Fall of 1972. Eventually moved closer to Dinkytown and became Know Name Records.
Puritan Record Store, 313 Robert Street, St. Paul.
Pyramid Records, 506 First Ave. No., Minneapolis, 1973.
Record Exchange – Three locations in the 1920s:
- 203 Baltimore Building, Washington and Jackson Streets, St. Paul
- 100 Temple Court, Washington and Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
- 128 West 6th Street, St. Paul
Record Exchange. Two locations in the 1960s in Minneapolis:
- 1419 Washington Ave. So. (7 Corners)
- 413 – 14th Ave. SE (Dinkytown) Opened July 1971
Record Lane, Nicollet Ave. between 8th and 9th Streets, Minneapolis
Record Lane was the house record store from the time Knollwood opened in 1955 to the mid 1960s. Manny Swaetz was the proprietor. It was located at the west end close to Powers. Leo Fine was one of the managers there before he opened Park Music.
Record Pad was located at 321 – 14th Ave. SE in Dinkytown. An ad dated May 1962 in the Minneapolis Daily Herald announced a “Liquidation Sale,” with LPs as low as 99 cents. Unclear whether it was going out of sale.
Record Rarities, Aldrich Ave. and Lake Street, Minneapolis
Record Run, Thomas Ave. No., Minneapolis
The Record Shop, Hudson Road and Earl Street, St. Paul. Also see Jughead’s.
Records on the Nile, 35th and Cedar, Minneapolis
Rising Sun Records, Harmon Ave. between 8th and 9th Street, Minneapolis
Robbinsdale Music Center, 4720 42nd Ave. No., Rockford Road, Robbinsdale. Found this ad in a 1951 Robbinsdale/Crystal phone directory. Funny how it has 78 and 45 rpm records but not 33s?
Rockheads, 5th and Wabasha, St. Paul.
Rock-it Records, 3 locations, Minneapolis
Root Cellar, Snelling and Thomas, St. Paul
Schmitt Music was primarily a traditional “music store” that sold musical instruments and sheet music, but the first thing listed on this 1950 ad is records. Schmitt Music had stores all over the Twin Cities, and is responsible for the famous music wall downtown.
The Schmitt Music Wall
Paul A. Schmitt moved to Minneapolis from New York City in 1890 and founded Schmitt Music Company in 1926. In 1941 he moved the company headquarters to a building near the corner of 10th Street and Marquette Ave. in downtown Minneapolis. He chose this building because it had room for a warehouse and piano-rebuilding shop, which allowed the company to begin selling pianos and organs.
This building became an unofficial landmark when Robert P. Schmitt (the grandson of Paul A.) decided to beautify one of the large exposed exterior brick walls. Like other American cities of the 1970s, citizens and business owners in Minneapolis were concerned about beautifying the older downtown buildings. Schmitt hired the repair of the old bricks and bricked up 32 exterior windows of the five story wall.
He asked a company employee to choose notes from a musical score that could be painted as a mural over the enormous wall. The employee searched through the store’s sheet music and came up with the most graphically attractive piece of music she could find, Maurice Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit.”
On Sunday morning, March 28, 1977, pianist Van Cliburn posed with a Steinway concert grand piano in front of the “music wall.” He was in town for an engagement with the Minnesota Orchestra. The photo attracted the attention of national newspapers. An enlarged version of the photo is prominently displayed at the Schmitt Music store in Edina.
Although Schmitt Music no longer owns the building, the present owners have kept the wall in good repair, preserving a true Minneapolis landmark.
CLICK HERE for a news story with photos, an interview with CEO Tom Schmitt, and a performance of the very difficult piece of music!
Sensational Records, University Ave. and Dale St., St. Paul. Owned by Leo Taylor.
The Shirt Shack was listed at 7th and Hennepin in a Stone Bleu ad in the Twin Cities Express in December 1973. Don’t know if they sold records, but it’s in a list of record stores, so what the hey.
Shoppers’ City Record Department, St. Louis Park: Okay, not as cool at the Minneapolis stores, but that’s where I got my 45s when I could scrape 98 cents together. I remember always looking for “She’s Not There” but all they ever had was “She’s Not You.” Fortunately you could order stuff. Still have my Zombies record!
The Slipt Disk was a record/head shop located at 6304 W. Lake Street in St. Louis Park, right next to McDonald’s, conveniently located to St. Louis Park heads. Dates of operation were June 1972 to about November 1973. Became Mother’s Records in 1974. The building was torn down to make more parking space for McDonald’s.
Smetana’s Drug Store in Hopkins (across from the Post Office) featured the latest hits on Vocalion Records, only 50 cents in 1925. The store also sold ukuleles starting at $2.25, and portable phonographs from $25 to $45.
Sonora Shop, 20 West 6th Street, St. Paul. Owned by W.J. Simpson and James J. Mead. Apparently Sonora was a brand of phonograph.
Soul Survivor, Penn and Broadway, Minneapolis
Sound Inn, Minneapolis:
- 717 Washington Ave. SE, Stadium Village
- 1845 Nicollet Ave.
Spring Records, Minneapolis
Stone Bleu Ltd., 801 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis. In the early ’70s Stone Bleu was doing some concert promoting as well.
Stone Bleu, Too, 3800 Grand Ave. So, Minneapolis
Sugar Dan’s, Como and Snelling, St. Paul
SugerMan’s Gallery, Selby and Victoria, St. Paul
Sursumcorda, First Ave. and Third Street, Minneapolis
Talking Machine Repair Shop, 1027 Hennepin Ave., 1922
Texas Bill Strength Record Shop
Country/Western Disk Jockey Texas Bill Strength opened his own record shop at 1003 Marquette Ave. in downtown Minneapolis on December 1, 1956. Photos below courtesy Dale Strength:
At some point the shop moved to 202 So. 10th Street in Minneapolis, as evidenced by this card found in the archives of the Manske Sisters:
The record shop was “disposed of” in April 1958.
Third Stone Music was listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider. The owner was Tim Swenson, who started his first record store in downtown Navarre. There were many other outlets, including:
- 98th and Lyndale in Bloomington
- Main Street in Hopkins
- West Lake Street, Minneapolis
Three Acre Wood was at 11 West 7th Street at Wabasha in St. Paul, extant in Fall 1972 according to an ad in the Insider. John Claig was the manager. There was another store on White Bear Ave., also in St. Paul.
Three Za Crowd, 1308 East Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. The ad below indicates that it started up in June 1971.
Title Wave, West Lake Street, Minneapolis
Uneeda Record, 22nd and Lyndale, Minneapolis
Vinyl Touch, Pacific and Point Douglas, St. Paul
Walblom Furniture & Carpet Co., 6th and Jackson St., St. Paul. This is a furniture store, selling records on the side in conjunction with phonograph sales.
Dan Scholl and David Devoy opened the Wax Museum in in 1970 in what was originally a small consignment store at 7 East 26th Street at Nicollet Ave. in Minneapolis. They sold out the consignment goods and turned to selling used records.
In 1970 they added a store at 1419 Washington Ave., off Seven Corners.
By December 1970 the stores had consolidated at 419 West Lake Street.
An ad from June 1971 indicated that a second store at 101 North 7th Street had been opened.
Eventually there were several Wax Museum stores, including:
- 7th and Hennepin
- Prior and University, St. Paul
- West Bank
- Eau Claire
- St. Cloud
Paul Strickland tells us, “The original owners sold in about ’79 to Lieberman Distribution who later sold to Great American Music. Sad to see the Lake Street Building gone.”
Wayne and Ron’s, 3009 East Lake Street, Minneapolis. Opened July 15, 1971. Wayne, a/k/a “Honey Bear,” lived in an apartment in the back of the store and slept on a custom made round water bed, according to sources who won’t be named…
Wide Angle, 45th and Nicollet