I could write a brilliant (or lame) essay on following your dreams and passions and all that shit but I am going to cut to the chase. We opened a fucking record store!!! Or as Toxic Bill put it “you’re the only one opening a record store in 2014”.
This has been in the works most of my adult life you could say. I have stock piled records and collectibles forever. I’ve done different distros, organized record swaps and run online stores. I even worked in a record store for a brief spell in the early 90’s. None of that compares to how cool a real brick and mortar store front is.
The earliest emails I had related to opening a store dated back to 2007. I started gathering info and getting somewhat serious way back then. But it was really after our trip to play at OC Cruststock this spring that the whole plan solidified and things took off. The timing was right.
We hit a few notable record stores on our trip including Radiation Records and TKO as well as others and that seems to be what really sparked the idea in my partner Val’s head. As soon as we got back he said we needed to open a record store I said okay for the hell-of-it and before I knew it he was sending me links to real estate sites to look at locations.
Denver is taking off due to legal marijuana and that has a positive impact on almost all businesses. People are moving here in droves and looking for new business ventures. That sucks though if you are trying to rent a spot and have a disdain for “hipsters”.
By total luck I found a spot closer to the end of town we both live on and far away from the hipster hangouts of South Broadway. Nestled in one of the oldest retail buildings in Lakewood Colorado was a little tiny hole in the wall spot. It neighbored a tattoo shop, a rehearsal studio for bands and an electronic cigarette store. It was perfect! Val reached out to the landlord and the next thing I knew I was standing in the storefront spinning a business plan off the top of my head to convince the landlord we knew what we were doing.
Shit! We had a storefront and no business plan or model. I got busy in excel and drafted up some quick models that almost brought a tear to my eye. The rent was so low at this location that the numbers just fell right into place! I couldn’t believe it! Two weeks later we were open.
This is for the punx by the punx. We kept our other jobs, the store doesn’t have to support us. With that we are able to keep our margins tight to deliver the best possible prices while being able to pay our bills and reinvest in the store. We try to skip distributors and go right to the labels and bands wherever possible. Why buy it from Relapse if I can get it right from the guy running the label? Everyone tells us our prices are incredible and seem genuinely happy with what we have created and offered to the scene. My brother Justin stepped in to give a few days of his week and with him, Val and me we cover most of the hours. When we need a break our good friend Wiley has stepped in to help us out too.
We have a huge selection of punk and metal everything. CDs, LPs, 7”s, cassettes, necklaces, pins, patches, shirts, hats, books, whatever. We have candles, incense, ash catchers, boxes, grinders, all kinds of shit! …We want the place to be a hang out and create some sense of community so we put in a sofa, a checkers/chess table and a pinball machine. Its themed after the Chicago fire and is a blast to play, its from 1987. It gets a lot of use but think most of the quarters in there are from my son which means they are from my wallet.
So far Sundays seem like they are the hangout day, maybe because it’s also the big hangover day. Its great to see groups of friends run into each other and spend some time swapping stories of bands, records and shows.
That’s about it. If you find yourself in the Denver area stop in and say “hi”. Again the selection is vast covering all spectrums of the metal and punk worlds; there is something for just about everyone. One dude came and said his son was into zombies and even more into military equipment and killing zombies. We just happened to have some zombie hunter stickers and some tactical pocket knives on hand. Bam! Problem solved! Zombies dead!
Chain Reaction Records
8793 W Colfax, Lakewood CO, 80215
Thanks – Josh