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 John Kass at 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!
N.B. Apparently drug stores were a source of records in the early 1920s – I have not included them on this list.
Central and Lowry, Minneapolis
Penn and 90th, Bloomington
The Acme Record Shop, 7 E 26th Street in Minneapolis. 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
Amos & Danny’s Advance Music Shop, 6 No. Third Street, Minneapolis. This hep music store shows up in a search by address in May of 1946 as the Advance Music Co. On January 10, 1949, an ad in the Star sadly says that it lost its lease and is liquidating its inventory.
Anderson’s Gift and Record Shop, 44 West 66th Street (Hub Shopping Center), Richfield – March 1954 to June 1959.
Anderson’s Hi Fi , Hub Shopping Center, Richfield. From 1957. Owned by Harold J. Hecker. Merged with a local Radio Shack in December 1966.
Anomie, 9th and LaSalle, Minneapolis. This was a drop-in center sponsored by the YMCA. As this ad from Hundred Flowers tells us, it opened on June 16, 1970. It lasted until at least March of 1973. Apparently the reference to “Records” in the ad below just meant that you could drop in and listen to records.
- Snelling and Ashland Avenues, St. Paul
- Various locations in Uptown, Minneapolis
Arcade Song Shop, 116 Loeb Arcade, 5th and Hennepin, Minneapolis. An ad from 1923 called it a dealer of OKeh records.
The Attic – Hennepin Ave. between Lake and 31st Street, 1969-1970.
Aura Sounds – Dinkytown
Got a question about this store, but can’t even come up with an address. First mention in the Strib I found was on June 27, 1976, just as a place to go to buy a Carpenters record.
In January 1979 it was listed as one of Pickwick’s companies, along with Musicland, Discount Records, and Sam Goody. In March 1980 it was also mentioned as a Pickwick company, but was not involved with the Sam Goody counterfeit tape scandal that was going on then. After that, nothing.
- 25th and Hennepin, Minneapolis
- Ford Parkway and Cleveland Ave., St. Paul
Bassment Dance Records
- East Hennepin and 5th Street NE
- 3017 Lyndale, Minneapolis
Berry’s Records and Cameras – Eastgate Shopping Center, Central Avenue and University Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis.
Billy and Marty’s, at 609 Marquette, was not a record store at all, but a tobacco shop. But I’m including it here because it was often mentioned as a place to buy tickets to events in the 1940s and ’50s before record stores (and Dayton’s) took over that function. Many have commented on the inappropriate juxtaposition of a tobacco shop and a place touting Junior Achievement opportunities, but life was different in the Wayback Machine.
Bob Burns Company, 5 North 11th Street, 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.
Broadway Music, 2032 W. Broadway, Minneapolis
This store went by many names, depending on what it was advertising at the time: Broadway Music, Broadway Records, Broadway Appliance and Furniture, and various jumbles of each. The first ad found was on February 19, 1946, just stuck in the classifieds. The last ad found was on November 16, 1950. These weren’t freestanding ads, but usually their name was included in a list of vendors for a certain product. The name isn’t visible on the label that Derik Olson found, so this took a bit of detective work! The building is gone and the land is vacant as of 2022.
Brunswick Shop, West Sixth Street, St. Paul
Burk’s Music Shop
12 West 6th Street/400 Wabasha at Sixth Street, St. Paul
114 East 7th Street at Robert Street, St. Paul
Burk’s Records, 473 No. Snelling Ave., St. Paul
Cammack Piano Co., 728 Marquette Ave., Minneapolis – Get the OKeh Laughing Record here in 1923!
Campus Record Shop, 1327 SE Fourth Street, Minneapolis. First ad seen is dated November 1943. Last mention is in February 1964.
Cannabis Shop, St. Paul
- 1373 Rice Street at Arlington
- 935 E Maryland at Forest
- 756 S Cleveland at Ford Parkway (1977)
Capital Music Shop – Moved to 298 Wabasha, St. Paul, on November 22, 1923.
13 East 7th Street
Capital Music Shop moved to 298 Wabasha on November 22, 1923.
Century Camera, Dinkytown
Century Record and Camera Shop. 30 South 7th Street, 1948.
In the ’90s, there were a lot of outlets to this chain, as evidenced by this bag from Kirk Miller.
Chester E. Groth Music Co. According to Wikipedia, the company was founded in 1939 in downtown Minneapolis by professional musician Chester E. Groth. Prior to opening Groth Music, Mr. Groth was a cornetist in the Navy Band Great Lakes, where he performed under the direction of John Philip Sousa. In addition to importing and selling musical instruments, music lessons were provided by Mr. Groth and his staff. Groth’s daughter, Nancy Groth-Kersten, purchased the company from her father in 1985 and shortly thereafter relocated it to Bloomington, Minnesota. While the company’s focus was on selling musical instruments, it sold records as well.
The Chicago-Lake Records was located at 743 East Lake Street. In operation from at least October 1969 to December 1971. Possibly earlier, possibly later.
Christianson Music Co. was located at 821 Excelsior Ave. in Hopkins in 1947.
Circus Maximus was located at 324 Cedar Ave. on the West Bank.
City Phonograph Company, located at 570 Wabasha Street in St. Paul, promised the latest records.
Cordelli’s, 7th and Broadway, St. Paul?
Country Comforts was included in an ad in a Fall 1972 Insider. It was located at 5344 34th Ave. So. in Minneapolis. The store was named for an early Elton John song that I actually liked!
The flier below was done by Clay Williams in 1971, when he was but a lad of 15.
In 2022, the building where Country Comfort had been was in the path of renovation and the old sign was revealed. Photographer David Biljan posted the photo below to Facebook and has given us permission to repost it here.
Cynesthesia, Minneapolis. One of these was open in 1997:
- 617 West Lake Street
- 2901 Lyndale Ave. So.
This was located at 720 Lyndale Ave. No. The building was demolished in 1976 to make way for the expansion of Interstate 94. Gary Block tells us “They were vinyl record wholesalers – whenever the local drug store didn’t have an album I wanted when I was a teenager, the store would contact Dart.”
Dayton’s Record Shop.
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.”
Disco City, Lake Street and Portland, 1978
Discount Records, 323 – 14th Ave. SE., Dinkytown.
Still there in 1972
Dixieland Record Heaven, 2227 E. 35th St., Minneapolis. This building was built in 1910 and served as a grocery store in 1914 to 1917. In 1930 it was a shoe shop. The first ad for McDonald Radio Service is found in the Strib on December 9, 1947. It was owned by James A. McDonald. By November 1965 it had been renamed Dixieland Record Heaven. McDonald died on January 21, 1975, and was given a true New Orleans type funeral. The record store was defunct by 1983.
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 at 56 E. Hennepin Ave. 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.
- Leary opened his second store at 921 Nicollet Ave., the former location of McGowan’s.
- In 1953 Leary 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.
A former employee posted the photo of Leary on Facebook, saying, “It was like working with W.C. Fields all day.” Not sure if that meant his wit or his physical appearance!
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.
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.
Dyer’s Music Store apparently went back to Dyer and Howard’s music store in 1884.
By 1885 it was being called Dyer Bros. music store.
In 1886 we get an address, 408 and 410 Nicollet Ave. in Minneapolis.
From 1886 to 1924 there were notices in the St. Paul Globe and the Minneapolis Tribune for performances at the Dyer Music Hall, located at 509-511 Nicollet Ave. in Minneapolis. Performances were also given in “Dyer’s Music Rooms,” or “music parlors,” apparently within the St. Paul location of Dyer Bros. Music Stores.
1887: 148 and 150 E Third Street, St. Paul; Syndicate Block, Minneapolis
1916: 21 -23 West Fifth Street, St. Paul
October 21, 1922: 28 West Fifth Street and 485 Jay Street, St. Paul
It is unclear from the ad below whether “Eloise” was a record or sheet music.
By February 1923 the store 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.
Although Dyer’s might have gone on longer, the last mention from the Minneapolis newspaper database was in 1928.
Earth – just Earth? 2947 First Ave. So., Minneapolis
East Side Jams – East 7th Street, St. Paul
Eclipse Records, St. Paul:
- 1692 Grand Ave., St. Paul – 1999 to 2003
- 1922 University Ave. W, St. Paul – 2007 to 2010
- 6th and Wabasha – 2011
Edina Record and Television Shop. 3833 W. 50th Street, Edina. April, 1948 to September 1951
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. Last ad January 1964.
Please see the separate page for the history of the Big Daddy of Minneapolis record stores.
Elite Records, Lowry and Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Elliot’s Store, 415 University Ave., St. Paul – Allen L. Rufus, Proprietor
Eye Moot House, Finn and Grand Ave., St. Paul
Fancy Colors, 4848 Central Ave. NE
Matchbook posted on Facebook by David Gordon
Flip Side, St. Paul:
- White Bear Ave.
- 2057 Randolph Ave. at Cleveland
Foster and Waldo, 818-820 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, 1929.
James Fraction, 311 Wabasha St., St. Paul
Franklin Music Shop, 1307 Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. – Get the OKeh Laughing Record here in 1923!
F.U.G. Record Sales, 4130 Lyndale Ave. No., was listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider.
Gabbert’s – 3035 Nicollet Ave. Later known as a furniture store, Gabbert’s had a full-blown record department in 1948 and was a member of a kind of record dealer’s consortium that shared pricing and advertising.
Gabrielson Radio-TV Sales & Service – 6240 Lyndale Ave. So., Richfield
Garage d’Or Records The store was started by Terry Katzman after working at Oar Folkjokeopus from 1976 to 1985. It had two locations:
2548 Nicollet Ave. So.: November 1985 until February 28, 1998
3015 Lyndale Ave. So. : 1998 to March 2001
Terry Katzman died suddenly on Friday, November 8, 2019, at the age of 64.
Gates’ Music Shop, 817 Hennepin Ave., Fred Gates, proprietor. A wantad for a “record girl” in April 1946 indicates when this store may have started. Gates sold the store in September 1948, and it became George’s Record Shop in November 1948 (see below).
George’s Record Shop, 817 Hennepin Ave. George McCabe, proprietor. Bought from Fred Gates in September 1948. Had the best selection of be-bop records in the Twin Cities. Property was advertised for sale in 1954.
Get Records, Minneapolis
Gilbert’s Music and Novelty Shop, 30 So. 7th Street, Minneapolis
Gimbel’s, Lyon and Healy, Downtown St. Paul (1940s)
Godfrey Daniels sold all manner of musical things, including banjos! Balcony shows implies that there was live entertainment at least one of the locations. The ad below shows two:
- Wayzata Bay Center
- 1502 Como Ave. SE, Minneapolis
Great American Music
Ira Heilicher co-founded the Great American Music retail superstore with his cousin Todd Heilicher. The first store was located at 5151 Central Ave. NE, and opened on February 3, 1978. Ads promised a huge stock of 100,000 records and tapes in every category. The store was originally open weeknights until 11 pm and Fridays and Saturdays until 1 am.
By 1982 there were several locations.
Here’s one: 419 West Lake Street.
It eventually grew to 17 stores. Heilicher began to sell off the stores in 1987.
Great Sound, Inc., 808 Washington Ave. SE (between Oak and Ontario in Stadium Village). Advertised in the Insider in June 1971.
Groove Monster, Dinkytown
Gulck’s Record Shop, 221 N Snelling Ave. near Marshall, St. Paul. 1954 to 1955
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.
Handcraft II – 307 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis (U of M, East Bank)
Happy’s – Selby and Snelling, St. Paul
Harpo’s was owned by George Powell.
The original Harpo’s opened at 648 W 98th Street in Bloomington in April 1976 and was named after the owner’s dog.
Hartman Furniture and Carpet Co., 22 So. 5th Street, Minneapolis, 1917
Hart’s Music, 387 Robert Street, St. Paul.
This store goes back a long time – the picture below was presumably taken during World War II, when records were being recycled for scrap.
Hart’s Music, 1402 W. Lake Street, Minneapolis. Listed in an ad from March 1950.
Hazen’s, 33rd and E Lake Street, Minneapolis
Headquarters, Hopkins, was listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider.
Hennepin Music Shoppe – this is hard to read, but could be 328 Hennepin Ave. “Latest in Records and Sheet Music.”
High Rapids, Coon Rapids
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, like Harpo’s, was owned by George Powell.
Some locations were:
Hillcrest Shopping Center, St. Paul
Phalen Shopping Center, St. Paul
166 White Bear Ave., St. Paul
4907 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park
604 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
House of Records
Store 1: 2938 Nicollet Ave. at West Lake Street, Minneapolis. Opened March 1948
2954 Hennepin Ave. – Opened @ May 1959
2711 East Lake Street – Opened between October and December 1959.
House of Records ad March 1960
Hub Music Shop, 2937 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. Sold sheet music and records.
Humble Sounds was on 50th and Bryant in Minneapolis in 1972. Originally on 50th and Xerxes.
Hymie’s Vintage Records, 3318 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis
“Hymie” was James Peterson, who began collecting records when he was 14. The store began as Hymie and Hazen’s on July 15, 1987. Hazen bowed out and Hymie carried on on his own. Hymie died in February 2000, but his store lived on.
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
Jack’s Music Shop
Jack’s Music Shop was located at 1349 Nicollet as far back as February 1926.
By March 1929 it had moved to 1370 Nicollet
In October 1931 Jack moved to 1341 Nicollet. In 1933 he dropped out of sight.
John Kroom, Hopkins
Johnson Supply Co.
Johnstone’s Record and Gift Store, Division Ave. and Fourth Street, White Bear Lake. The opening of this store was announced in the November 19, 1970, issue of the White Bear Press (Thank you, White Bear Lake Area Historical Society and Bill Kelly!!).
The building was originally a gas station, built in 1927 by Carl Mattlin and operated by Mattlin and Julius Hogan. Later, George Goulette ran a barbershop out of the building. It may also have been a taco shop before it was purchased by Glen Johnstone, who had owned the grocery store next store since 1965. Glen’s son Craig managed the grocery store and now the new record store in November 1970. It wasn’t there long; on August 7, 1971, it opened as the Mortamus Arbuckel Submarine Shop, and by 1973, Glen Johnstone opened the Cup and Cone. The Cup and Cone has been run by various family members ever since.
The photo below, from about 1950, pictures Lorraine Billingsley(Hogan) and her father, Julius Hogan.
Joseph Falk, 715 Sixth Ave. North, Minneapolis, 1917
Jughead’s Earl Street Record Store was listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider. 367 Earl Street, St. Paul. May be the same as The Record Shop, Hudson Road and Earl Street.
K and K’s Record Shop was listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider. 897 South Robert Street, West St. Paul
Kamau Record Shop, Selby Ave. and Milton, St. Paul, 1978
Know Name Records started up in 1977 on 6009 Portland Ave. So. in Minneapolis. It was started owned by Jon Headley and Bruce Benson.
On January 1, 2022, Headley and Benson retired and transferred ownership to their employee, Ted Kondrak. The store is one of the longest-lasting record stores in the Twin Cities, with only Electric Fetus and Down in the Valley exceeding their tenure.
Kra-Mar Music, 3939 Fremont Ave. No., Minneapolis
Kugler’s Music Shop, 10 So. 9th Street, Minneapolis. Listed in this 1946 ad.
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.
Let it Be Records. Various addresses found include:
- 1001 Nicollet Mall
- Loring Park
- 7th and Hennepin
- 680 Transfer Road Suite #4, St. Paul (2020 address). According to its website, the store has been selling music and music memorabilia online since 1997.
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
Loring Radio and Music Shoppe, 1500 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis. (Originally Loring Music Shop) Get the OKeh Laughing Record here in 1923! The label below was off of a strange song called the “House of David Blues.” Since 1954 the address has been an apartment building.
Louise Music Store – 727 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. Still there in 1972.
Lyndale Flowers and Records, 36th and Lyndale, Minneapolis
Lyon and Healy – downtown St. Paul, 1940s
Lyric Song Shop, 720 Hennepin Ave. Get the OKeh Laughing Record here in 1923!
60 South 9th Street, Minneapolis – 1948
921 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis – 1950 to November 1951. Taken over by Don Leary
810 LaSalle St., Minneapolis – 1948
23 West Sixth Street, St. Paul
799 Grand Ave., St. Paul
This came from an image of a goofy 1962 record sent by Minnesota record collector Derik Olson. Can’t find a thing about Rick Allen. Neither of these addresses are the same.
Main Record Shop was listed in Hundred Flowers in early 1971. The photo below is of businessess on the 2900 block of Nicollet Ave.
Majestic Music Company was at 14-16 South 7th Street in Minneapolis. See another Majestic in St. Paul below.
What do they mean by “Where the Dolls Dance in the Window?”
Majestic Record Shop, 6 West 6th Street, St. Paul.
Maurice’s Juke Box
620 Rondo Ave., St. Paul. Owned by Maurice T. Strong. Sounds like a fun place!
Maurice’s Record Shop – See Olson Highway Phonograph Record Shop, below.
McDonald Radio Service – see history under Dixieland Record Heaven, above.
Mel-O-Dee Music Shop. I had a lot written on this but WordPress ate it.
The Mel-O-Dee Record Store was first located at 704-706 Hennepin Ave.
I just love this photo!
In June 1959, the Melodee Record Shop moved next door to 700 Hennepin Ave., where it was first known as Melody Music City until at least August 1961. See below under Music City.
Melody Lane was in the Signal Hills shopping center in West St. Paul.
Micawber’s Books and Records, 2238 Carter Ave., St. Paul. 1972
Mike Thomas Record Shop, 10 Signal Hills, West St. Paul. 1972
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 Records: 38th Ave. and 4th Street, Minneapolis, 1978
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
MUSIC CITY, DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS
In June 1959, the Melodee Record Shop, 704 Hennepin Ave., moved next door to 700 Hennepin Ave. It was first known as Melody Music City until at least August 1961.
By 1968 Music City was “The Big Store with the Little Prices!”
By August 1970, the store was owned by George Garrett, former owner of Nic-O-Lake Records. Garrett was said to have left town by 1974.
The photo below is a sort of proto-Google maps, where the City of Minneapolis took photos of buildings and they were painstakingly merged together, either then (1970) or as best possible with present-day technology. The photo does show how Music City wraps around the corner of 7th and Hennepin, amid a beauty college, wig shop, parking ramp, and all the other tawdry businesses that have fallen in the name of progress.
There was also a Music City on Wabasha Ave. in St. Paul.
Music Room, 6 West 5th Street, St. Paul. 1972
Music 2, St. Paul:
- Sun Ray Shopping Center
- Phalen Shopping Center
- 7th and Wabasha
The Musicland chain opened in Minneapolis in 1956.
- 503 Hennepin Ave., 1959
- 12 So. 7th Street, St. Paul, 1959
- 429 Wabasha, St. Paul, 1972
- Har-Mar Mall, 1972
- 323 14th Ave. SE in Dinkytown, 1986 to 1996
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.
N.E. Radio and Records, 339 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.
New Avenue, Lake Street, Minneapolis
The New England Furniture Store, 8th and Marquette, Minneapolis. Below is an ad from 1946.
Nicollet Record Shop, 1829 Nicollet Ave.
Nic-o-Lake Records By December 1963 George Garrett had established the Nic-O-Lake Record Store at 2 West Lake Street, as attested in a feature about the Trashmen in the Sunday Tribune Picture magazine (December 8, 1963). The building had been the home of TV and Radio Technicians during 1963, which could have also been Garrett. The first ad I found for Nic-O-Lake was dated April 21, 1964. A new expansion was announced in April 1965. It was still in operation in 1971 according to Hundred Flowers.
Nightfall, 27th St. and E Lake, Minneapolis
North Side Jewelry and Music Store, 716 Sixth Ave. No., Minneapolis – Get the OKeh Laughing Record here in 1923!
- 6th and Hennepin, Minneapolis – later moved to 7th and Hennepin
- Pascal and University, St. Paul
- Hillcrest Shopping Center, St. Paul
- Southwest Corner of University Ave. and Mississippi Street, Fridley
Northside Music & Jewelry Store, 716 Sixth Ave. No., Minneapolis
Northwestern Music House, 520 Second Ave. So., Minneapolis. Ad spotted in 1917. Carl Raugland, Prop.
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.
Unsure how the two Northwestern Music Houses might be related.
Oar Folkjokeopus – see North Country Music
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
Orpheum Music Co., 904 Hennepin Ave.
Pasha Poi, 1666 Grand Ave. at Snelling, St. Paul. Listed in a Fall 1972 ad in the Insider.
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.”
Pied Piper had five locations in July 1965, as evidenced by the ad below, but is hard to track down because of the nature of the ads.
That summer of 1965 was very active for Pied Piper – the chain sponsored a float in the Aquatennial parade, featuring the Hondells. The Hondells were also on hand for the Pied Piper-sponsored street dance, held on July 22, 1965, on 9th Street between Hennepin and LaSalle Avenues. The dance took place from 4 to 5 pm and was hosted by Dino Day, the MC of the local dance show “A Date With Dino.” Also on hand were the Flinthill Singers and the Only Ones. The dance was simulcast on KMSP Channel 9.
Pipeseller, Brookdale Shopping Center, presumably also sold records; it was listed in a Stone Bleu ad in the Twin Cities Express in December 1973.
- 2922 So. Lyndale Ave.Su
- 316-20 Cedar Ave. So., West Bank
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. Mike from Shakopee says that this was on the second floor of a bank building. All the records were new and sealed LPs, discontinued stock from distributors. Let it Be Records bought out its stock when it closed.
Record Deck – 11 So. 6th Street, Minneapolis. October 1959
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
- 1419 Washington Ave. So. (7 Corners). 1971
- 413 – 14th Ave. SE (Dinkytown) Opened July 1971
Record Lane , 806 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis
Record Lane was the house record store from the time Knollwood opened in 1955 to the mid 1960s. The address was 8428 Highway 7 in St. Louis Park. 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 Lane, 7963 Southtown Center, Bloomington
Record Pad was located at 321 – 14th Ave. SE in Dinkytown. Ads starting in May 1962 in the Minneapolis Daily Herald announced “Lost Our Lease” and “Liquidation” Sales, with LPs as low as 99 cents. These ads continued for quite a while. Did they have “pads” in 1962? Maybe they were LPs for beatniks.
Record Rarities, Aldrich Ave. and Lake Street, Minneapolis
Record Run, Thomas Ave. No., Minneapolis (Go Johnny Go says “Originally from Philly”)
The Record Shop, Hudson Road and Earl Street, St. Paul. Also see Jughead’s.
The Record Shop, etc*
In June 1971:
Records on the Nile, 35th and Cedar, Minneapolis
Repertoire, 2073 St. Clair, St. Paul, 1978
Richfield Record Shop. In about 1955 it moved from 7610 Lyndale to 6532 Lyndale.
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?
Robert’s Records, 2300 Central Ave. NE. First mention, March 1956.
In 1964 there was another location at 1619 E. Lake Street.
An ad (who knows what the audience was) said they had Western, Old Time, and Scandinavian records!
Rockheads, 5th and Wabasha, St. Paul.
Rock-it Records – Dianne L. Barelli
- 2401 Lyndale Ave. So., Minneapolis.
- Took over space of Uneeda Record at 22nd and Lyndale, November 1986.
- In January 1989 it moved to 1608 Harmon Place, above Let it be Records.
Barelli filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy on July 31, 1991.
Root Cellar Records, 636 N. Snelling at Thomas, St. Paul. Owned by Earl Root.
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!
Schuneman’s, Inc., 401 Wabasha, St. Paul. 1952
Sensational Records, 625 University Ave. at Dale Street, St. Paul. “The Best of Soul Records,” owned by Leo Taylor. 1972 – 1978
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!
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.
Sound of Music
Southdale Record Store
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
Summer of Love
Suneson Music Store, 1611 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis. Suneson was known as a place to buy musical instruments, more than records. This very old record bag might be a rare artifact from its record store days?
Sursumcorda, First Ave. and Third Street, Minneapolis
Talking Machine Repair Shop, 1027 Hennepin Ave., 1922
Tatters and Platters – Lake and Lyndale, Minneapolis
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 (1972 directory, 1973 ad below says 14 W 7th). John Claig was the manager. Still there in 1978. 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. This was a local chain, with locations including West Lake Street, Minneapolis
Top Ten Records, Midway Center, University Ave. at Snelling, St. Paul
Gale Gadde found this great artifact at an antique sale, and wondered about its provenance. There’s not much evidence, but this we know: Midway Shopping Center was a strip mall at University and Pascal. It opened in 1959 with 40 stores. Tiny listings for the Top Ten Record Shop were found on September 16 and October 20, 1960, buried in one of those ads that lists “get it here” stores all over the state. She probably got one of the three bags ever made! The store was probably one of the first in the mall, but perhaps didn’t last long. The Midway Center, a shadow of its former glory, was irretrievably damaged in the riots following the murder of George Floyd and torn down in 2021.
Uneeda Record, 2401 Lyndale Ave. So., Minneapolis. This building, now an apartment, was built in 1910. The store was owned by Bill Melton. The first mention in the newspaper was in December 1984. In February 1985, Mike Pastir managed it for his family. Went out of business in about November 1986 and the location became Rock-It Records.
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:
- 6th and Hennepin
- 1910 University, St. Paul
- Richfield, 6630 Penn Ave. So.
- 324 Cedar Ave., West Bank
- Robin Center, 4100 Highway 52 No.
- 28 So. Fifth Ave., St. Cloud
- Eau Claire
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.
Former employee Mark Petty provides this information:
Wide Angle started in retail by renting space in a back corner of Music City (700 Hennepin), circa 1983. Before that it was a “record pool,” which was a business that gathered and distributed dance records to club DJs. It became a “real” store around late 1984 near 26th and Nicollet, later moving to 46th and Nicollet. It closed in 2002. It was also a record label.