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Chicago area record stores past and present (with photos)

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

  1. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    Great store! I bought tons of stuff from them via mail order back in my club DJ days. Made a point to stop in there a few times when I was in town, but I never could spend enough time to do any serious listening or shopping in person. Checked out the new location last year (they moved up the street a couple of blocks - not sure when exactly) - it seemed smaller than the old store and not as cozy or welcoming, but it could have just been the fact that it was a whole new crew that I didn't know, and I was checking it out more for nostalgia than for anything else. I really loved that place back in the day.
     
  2. hyde park

    hyde park Forum Resident

    Location:
    Flossmoor, IL, USA
    It must have been a Coconuts under the el at Milwaukee, North and Damen. This would have been 98 or 99. In 2000, I moved down to Hyde Park and there was a Coconuts on 53rd. I think it closed within a year or so.
     
  3. br6388

    br6388 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Homewood, Illinois

    Hegewisch Records in Calumet City was my go to place.
     
  4. Stencil

    Stencil Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lockport, IL
    I haven't been back there since I moved away in 1990. The last time I was in the city I was more interested in going to Reckless and Dusty Groove
     
  5. pudgym

    pudgym Monster Raving Loony

    The northside Metro Music store was in the new Century indoor shopping mall @ Clark & Diversey (& Broadway).
    Cut-out LPs here were $1.99, or 3/$5. I bought a few of them here circa 1977-9. But I stopped in there frequently because I could depend on it having that week's WLS-AM survey. Maybe a few others as well ["Galgano Distributors' Soul Survey"]. :confused:
    Armed with a CTA Sunday SuperTransfer, I would frequently wind up at Diversey, Clark, & Broadway; having a hamburger at Yankee Doodle Dandy (@ Clark & Schubert), because I would not settle for McDonald's or Burger King. :o
    Then walking north to the Century mall to see what it had. There was a United Audio Centers store also inside the mall.
     
    jamesc likes this.
  6. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    Was the Metro Music store at that location on the first floor with big windows looking out onto the street? I was only there once, definitely midsummer 1974, but I distinctly remember entering the store interior direct from the sidewalk and the daylight coming in the windows as I shopped in there. I did not enter from some mall corridor inside. Also, the photos I googled of The Century Shopping Centre at 2828 N Clark don't look like what I remember. Then again, the general location certainly matches the general north side area where I thought it was.

    Did you shop there as early as summer 1974? I also saw an article that said the location was an old movie palace that they started gutting in 1973 to make the shopping center.
     
  7. Gramps Tom

    Gramps Tom Forum Resident

    I moved from the South Chicago suburbs in 1993. My favorite shops then, and when I would return to visit family:

    Tower Records, the big one and one in the Western Suburbs somewhere...my brother always drove
    Discount Records. Stores in Matteson, Homewood, and Oak Forest
    Rolling Stones Records, Harwood Heights
    Rose Records. I shopped the Loop store occasionally, but Orland Park was much more accessible
    Hegewisch Records, Richton Park was my favorite. Closed abruptly before I moved, though.
    Record Swap, Homewood
    Apple Tree Records, Rockford
     
  8. EddieMann

    EddieMann I used to be a king...

    Location:
    Geneva, IL. USA.
    I have a friend who worked at Appletree Records (not the one in Rockford though), and when they went out of business snatched the sign. He recreated the record store in his basement.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    Two different Tower Records could each be thought of as northwest or west. One was in Schaumburg on Golf Road west of Woodfield (there was a drivers license place there too), while the other was in Bloomingdale on Army Trail Road, further south and further west than the Schaumburg location.
     
    jamesc and Gramps Tom like this.
  10. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    Elgin! Where I bought virtually every piece of vinyl in my junior high and high school years. Great store, but it always seemed like kind of a weird location. It was on a busy street, a few blocks from the high school, but it was kind of tucked away inside an office building.
     
    Gramps Tom likes this.
  11. EddieMann

    EddieMann I used to be a king...

    Location:
    Geneva, IL. USA.
    That’s where he lives now, Elgin.
     
  12. jamesc

    jamesc Formerly Known as Undertow

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Ah, I remember that store now... I remember buying a Siouxsie and the Banshees record there! It was in a weird building...
     
  13. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Now that some one is bringing up Elgin, I might as well bring up a place in Rockford which I think is still there (they have a website). It is called Toad Hall:

    I went there myself a bit more than 20 years ago. Similar vibe to Beverly Records on the far south side of Chicago, except much bigger because it is not just records and tapes. And similarly disappointed on my visits to both places, that the music is not better curated and cared for. But still one might find something there (at either place). The photo is Toad Hall, but that photo looks like it is better organized and displayed than when I went there back in the day.

    [​IMG]


    In the end, though, if I am going to make a short (less than 90 minute) road trip, my absolute favorite these days is Exclusive Company in the south Milwaukee suburb of Greenfield. Almost all freeway from north burbs of Chicago. And once you get there you not only find as good a new and used selection of vinyl/cd/dvd/blu-ray as can be found anywhere, well organized and curated, but also right next door is Half Price Books with their own selections of same, AND right across the street is a Barnes and Noble as well.

    That's a nice hat trick in one easy shot. There is even another Exclusive Company on the far west side of Milwaukee. Then just remember to pick up a couple of cases of Spotted Cow on the way back, and you just had a good afternoon. Leave after lunch, home in time for dinner. With all of the travel on surface streets involved, you could easily spend more time than that just hitting three of the better places right here in Chicago.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2020
    airstreamdriver, jamesc and Gary C like this.
  14. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wichita, KS
    There’s an Exclusive store in Janesville, WI - is that the one you’re thinking of, or is there another one west of Milwaukee? I’ve been there- it’s a good store. Surprised it has survived for so long in Janesville!
     
  15. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    It wasn't Janesville. There are seven locations overall, two in Milwaukee or suburbs. The one in Milwaukee I guess is close to downtown, near north side. The One I have gone to is in Greenfield, a south suburb just off the bypass that goes around south and westside before rejoining 94 west to Milwaukee. That is the one that is easy to reach from the north Chicago burbs, almost all tollway/freeway all the way, just a few stoplights at either end of the trip. But the Greenfield location having Half Price Books right next door (literally) and Barnes & Noble right across the street is the biggest deal since it's like a hat trick in one easy trip. Pick the three best record stores in Chicago today, you are doing a lot of driving around on surface streets. Janesville might be easier for someone living near Elgin or McHenry County though.
     
  16. Bob Skaleski

    Bob Skaleski Member

    Location:
    Norwalk, CT
    I am an old timer. Grew up in Bucktown and Humboldt areas in the 40s and 50s. In 1956-58 I use to go to record store on Chicago Ave which was located somewhere near California or Western Ave. I bought my first Jazz record there. I am writing a book about Chicago and I would like some help. Anyone out there know the name of the record store ? ... I bought mostly Jazz there and their selection was good. My first EP was a Gerry Mulligan Paris Concert live disc. This record store was not very large but it plays an important part in a story I am writing. I read through all the posts on the thread but I could not find anyone mentioning this place. I shall buy lunch with beer to anyone who can help out. Thanks, Bob
     
  17. airstreamdriver

    airstreamdriver Well-Known Member

    You might try asking Bob Koester, who used to run Jazz Record Mart and Delmark Records. I'm not sure if his last store Bob's Blues & Jazz Mart is still open in Covid times, but you could do worse than contacting the store and asking him: Bob's Blues & Jazz Mart

     
  18. Bob Skaleski

    Bob Skaleski Member

    Location:
    Norwalk, CT
    Thanks so much .... for your help. I really appreciate the lead. I shall get a hold of Bob asap. Please remain safe.
     
    airstreamdriver likes this.
  19. qatburger

    qatburger Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    I don't remember the Metro Music store as being inside the Century Mall, but like you, I recall their store being on the street level. I believe it may have actually been on the east side of Broadway, about a half-block north of the Clark/Broadway/Diversey intersection. Yes, big windows that looked out onto the street. I remember buying some of my earliest 12" singles there around '76.
     
    weaselriot likes this.
  20. ScramMan2

    ScramMan2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland OR
    There are several Exclusive stores in WI.

    Wisconsin Record Store Locations | Madison, Milwaukee, West Bend, Appleton, Greenfield, Janesville, Oshkosh and Green Bay

    I used to frequent Milwaukee, Greenfield, and Oshkosh when I lived in WI. There is a Half-Priced Books with similar used titles near there (Greenfield). And a Kopps nearby for lunch also. I miss their cheeseburgers! Kopps is right on Layton and S 76th.

    There was an Exclusive right next to Half-Price in Brookfield a bunch of years ago but they shut down. Kopp's near there also!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
  21. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    That sounds like it could be the one. The Metro I remember was definitely north side, and it could certainly have been as far south as Diversey, but that's much closer to the lake than I remember. My sister and her husband lived at Wrightwood and Lakeview, just a blocks east from that intersection, as late as 1972. I recall a McDonald's on the east side of Clark on that block just north or south of Diversey, and we rented bicycles from a store on that same block in 1971. I always thought Metro was a bit further west of even Lincoln (where I often went to Wax Trax in the 1980s, between Fullerton and Diversey).

    Also, my memory, distant and vague though it may be from just one visit, had Metro on the west side of the street. I recall looking through those big windows to see the summer afternoon sun (coming from the west) hitting the facades of the buildings across the street (which would have to have been the east side).

    Too bad there isn't a searchable online database with Yellow Pages archive from different years. I wonder if public libraries have those.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2021
  22. Bob Skaleski

    Bob Skaleski Member

    Location:
    Norwalk, CT
    I FOUND IT !!!! I was looking for a record store on Chicago Ave in the mid 50's and I found it. I went to the Library of Congress and got the 1955 Chicago Yellow Pages and looked up "Phonograph Records - Retail." I checked the listings and found two on Chicago Ave in my Neighborhood.
    The store was SINGER'S ONE-STOP RECORDS AT 1812 W Chicago Ave .... this location is indeed located just east of Damen Ave and on the north side of the street. If you google this address .... you can see the building ... of course the record store is gone, but the building is recognizable. It is possible to reach back 65 years and find that needle in a haystack. Thanks, everyone for your help. Bob
     
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  23. qatburger

    qatburger Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    Taking a cue from what Bob S. did above, I went to the Library of Congress' database of Chicago phone directories. The 1975 directory listed Metro Music as being at 2834 N. Broadway. Perhaps it moved into the Century mall later, but at least for a while, it was definitely on Broadway.
     
    weaselriot likes this.

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