Chicago area record stores past and present (with photos)

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by larry333, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. Scope J

    Scope J Forum Resident

    Location:
    Michigan
  2. recstar24

    recstar24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    my favorite and most frequented store by far.
     
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  3. Veni Vidi Vici

    Veni Vidi Vici Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
  4. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    Algonquin records was still there on RSD this year, but I couldn't get near the place. There was no place to park and a huge line outside, as they were letting only five shoppers inside at a time. I didn't know about them back in the 1970s (my favorite haunts for records then being the Laury's in Evanston first, then in the early to mid-1980s the Laury's on Milwaukee Avenue in Niles, just north of Golf Mill, until they were bought out by Rose Records about 1986, and stayed with them until Sound Warehouse showed up a block away. Those Laury's were great stores (another in Deerfield too), but all gone by early 1990s.

    Vintage Vinyl is also still there in the same location on Davis Street just west of the "L" tracks. I discovered them because Audio Consultants, my all-time favorite audio store ever, moved to a new location across the street and one block over. I've been shopping with them since I got my driver's license in 1969, bringing their original location several blocks further east on Davis (closer to the Lake) within reach. They moved to their current location about 1979, when I bought a Yamaha CR-2020 receiver and Nakamichi 580M cassette deck there in November. That is when I first saw Vintage Vinyl.

    Sadly, however, Audio Consultants just days ago announced its closing in late December. Simon Zreczny, the original proprietor when he opened the store in 1967, is retiring at age 82. He sure doesn't look 82, and his voice is still unmistakable when he answers the phone. I guess I just got in under the wire when I purchased a new pair of B&W DM601 S3 speakers, Oppo UDP-205 player, and new Ortofon 2M Black and 2M Mono for my Thorens TD-126 Mk III/SME Series III tone arm with swappable arm wands, purchased there in 1981. The ADS L-810 studio monitors I bought there in 1976 were my best ever, still in service until 2001 when I took myself 5.1 and couldn't find a matching third for the center channel. When I traded them in, I got the same money in trade that I originally paid for them, albeit in 2001 dollars instead of 1976 dollars. I sure will miss that place.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  5. kevinsinnott

    kevinsinnott Forum Coffeeologist

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    Dan and Steve, brothers and owners of Algonquin Records, are great and dedicated music and record lovers. The space is relatively small, but they are still in business, an amazing feat. I have never been there when it is crowded. I lived a short distance away when they opened. I still get around the area, although I've moved several times and now live many miles away.

    I'm very sorry to hear about Audio Consultants going away. My brother and I bought our first stereos from Simon in the 1970s. I've bought gear from three of their locations over the years. I felt they always dealt fairly and stayed on the conservative side of audiophilia, much to Simon's credit. At least part of the reason I grew my collection of gear and my record collecting hobby is thanks to Simon and his long-term vision and fairness in any dealings.
     
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  6. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    My first purchases from Simon were Dynaco PAT-4 and Stereo 120 in December 1969. That was after likely being a bit of a pest (just sixteen at the time) hanging out there early September and Thanksgiving (when not away at prep school in Massachusetts). Remarkably, in the dorms at school one was partly judged by gear and tastes, seriously. So Simon was actually a big help with me fitting in at that place.

    Guys visiting my room would flip through my records and conclude "yeah, he looks OK". In my particular dorm, with 30 rooms on that floor, it was literally like living in a damn record store (and a good one too). There was even a "pirate" radio station in one guy's room on the third floor (open to other students grabbing a slot and spinning stuff up). And it was near impossible to "scoop" anybody with a new band or album that I thought I "discovered" while back home, only to find out half a dozen other guys down the hall already had it when I got back (e.g., Tull and Fleetwood Mac coming back from Thanksgiving 1968!). I finally got my scoop the next year when I returned from Christmas with the Leo Kottke debut album. I actually got summoned by the faculty hall advisor when he heard it passing my window, and he turned me on to John Fahey. And there was some at least pretty good gear in almost every room down the hall.

    As for Algonquin Records, it may not have been crowded INSIDE on Record Store Day, since they were letting in only five at a time, but it sure was crowded outside. I was, however, a frequent visitor at Hip Cat Records, both when it was in Wheeling in the 1990s and more recently at their Lake Street location near Loyola prep.
     
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  7. vinylbeat

    vinylbeat Forum Resident

    Audio Consultants closing really comes as a surprise. I know they closed their Libertyville store a few years ago. I bought some Arcam home theater gear from their Evanston store several years ago.......still working too!

    I've known Dan at Algonquin Records since the 70's and still shop there on a regular basis. Always great to visit his store, pick up a few things and talk music/records with him. Sadly...his younger brother Steve passed away earlier this year. The store does get kinda crazy on RSD that's for sure!
     
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  8. kevinsinnott

    kevinsinnott Forum Coffeeologist

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    Wow, I'm sorry about Steve's passing. He and I shared a love for the Mamas and Papas. He's the only other person I knew who had a copy of Denny Doherty's "What Ya Gonna Do" solo album. I'll have to visit soon, maybe this week.
     
  9. vinylbeat

    vinylbeat Forum Resident

    Yeah.......his brother Steve was a big fan of the Mamas and Papas and Sunshine Pop, Brazil 66' etc., I'm sure Dan will enjoy your visit. Tell him Steve from Grayslake says hi!
     
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  10. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL


    Being from that far north (Grayslake) have you ever checked out Exclusive Company in south Milwaukee suburb of Greenfield (about 5000 south on 74th st)?. That is a pretty big store with all kinds of new and used stock in CDs and LPs, as well as a Criterion Blu-Ray and DVD section. It's likely a bit longer than you are used to driving for a record store (probably 45-60 minutes), but once you get there, a Half-Price Books is right next door with its own used LP and CD sections, and a Barnes & Noble right across the street. I can practically guarantee you will spend more time driving to hit three places like that in one trip anywhere in the north/northwest suburbs. But Exclusive Company is a gem:

    Wisconsin's Best Independent Record Store | The Exclusive Company | Record Store Locations - West Bend, Oshkosh, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, Greenfield & Janesville Wisconsin.
     
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  11. vinylbeat

    vinylbeat Forum Resident

    I recently moved to Grayslake from Niles so I really need to start getting to Milwaukee and visit the record stores in the area. I've been to Vinyl Frontier and Siren in McHenry and they're pretty decent.
     
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  12. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    Exclusive Company is one of the best I've seen. Even close to the size of the Laury's/Rose in Niles back in the day, if you were there that long ago. I think there is another in Milwaukee proper, but it is near north side and likely a longer trip with maybe some surface streets. The Greenfield store is close to the I-94 freeway bypass (I think 75th Street exit), and you do get a hat trick of three stores selling some kind of new and/or used vinyl literally all within a block of each other (VERY unusual these days to say the least).

    That store in Janesville isn't all that far from you either, but not freeway, just pick up US 14 in McHenry or Crystal Lake. Don't overlook Madison, either, a big college town with several used record stores near campus on all sides.
     
  13. ggergm

    ggergm you can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd

    Location:
    Minnesota
    I got the movie soundtracks to Deep Throat and Deep Throat2 at the Exclusive Company a few years ago. Does that tell you what you need to know about their vast selection?

    They are two records I own where the jackets, and their pictures, are better than the vinyl. :yikes:
     
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  14. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    Which store (town)?
     
  15. ggergm

    ggergm you can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd

    Location:
    Minnesota
    Madison - west side. I'm not sure it's still there. Exclusive Company has gone on a bit of a retrenchment over the past few years. Their State Street store in Madison is gone.
     
  16. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    I don't think they have any location in Madison anymore.
     
  17. bob338

    bob338 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sausalito, CA
    Does the same guy still own this place from the early 80s? He was such a cranky pants.

     
  18. spaulding

    spaulding Hoi Polloi

    Location:
    The Windy City

    Oh man - I'm so sad to hear about Audio Consultants. They just repaired my 15 yr-old Arcam amp. And they went beyond the call and got it done in 4 days.
    I'm also nervous as to where I'll take items to be repaired in the future - I know Saturday Audio Exchange can do these things but their turn-around time is months as opposed to weeks.
    Thanks for the info.
     
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  19. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL


    Not sure. I think so, but it has been forty years since it opened in 1979 when I went there the first time.
     
  20. KevinP

    KevinP Forum introvert

    Location:
    Wellington , NZ
    Sorry if this has been posted before. I've followed this thread. I've followed this thread since the beginning, but it's been seven years.

     
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