Minneapolis/St. Paul record stores past and present

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by steelydanguy, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. lambfan68

    lambfan68 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minnesota
    Same. In my teenage years I worked across the street from the St. Paul Northern Lights. Most of my paychecks went to the little separate CD shop they had in the back. It had a sliding glass door and its own register.
     
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  2. DeeThomaz

    DeeThomaz Senior Member

    Location:
    In The Felony Room
    The downtown location also had a separate little room for the CDs and I believe it's own register too. I do remember they would remove the CDs from their longboxes and kept the discs themselves behind the counters. The racks had transparent hard plastic cards that they slipped the CD booklets into, which you'd bring up to the counter.

    Eventually the vinyl was moved into the side room, and the CDs took over the rest of the store. At that point, they no longer removed the discs from their original packaging of course.

    PS: I believe the St Paul store still lives on in another guise, as Urban Lights:

    Urban Lights celebrates 20 years of record store madness in St. Paul | City Pages
     
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  3. lambfan68

    lambfan68 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minnesota
    Yep. I remamber all that too. I liked browsing through those little plastic cards. If I only knew then what I know now. I'm sure I flipped past a bunch of stuff that I would never see again.
     
  4. steelydanguy

    steelydanguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yeah, that's unfortunate. I had only stopped in there a few times while visiting family in the Twin Cities in recent years, but I always come away with some used CDs. The selection was pretty decent. I found a bunch of 1994 Monkees Rhino reissue CDs in good shape the last time I was there.

    My go-to places for used CDs when I'm in the Twin Cities are the Electric Fetus and the Cheapo branches in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Not sure there are many places left for used CDs in the Twin Cities, are there? I guess the various Half Price Books stores carry some as well.

     
  5. steelydanguy

    steelydanguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That's a really cool website. Thanks for sharing.

    It looks like the focus on that site is stores that opened from the 1950s to the early 1970s. That's fine (and there's a lot of really great material on there, all collected in one place for great convenience), but it would be even cooler if the site also contained info on stores that opened after the cut-off date of 1974. Like, I'd love to see some photos and a write-up of the great Let It Be that was in downtown Minneapolis. Garage D'or is another one -- I see it's listed, but there isn't a write-up that goes with it. Nevertheless, it's a really cool site.

     
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  6. Fastnbulbous69

    Fastnbulbous69 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    30 years ago today I bought Pixies - Doolittle. I don't remember the name of the store because it was an unsung hole-in-the-wall off of University Ave near Snelling in St. Paul, but I can just about picture it and the bikeride over from my Bigelow dorm room. Unlike Cheapos and Northern Lights, they would hold CDs for me, and were a better price, so that's where I got my Sonic Youth, Feelies, NoMeansNo, (the) Melvins and Dinosaur Jr. CDs. This was my most highly anticipated album of that year, but I actually felt it was a letdown at the time compared to the ferocious Surfer Rosa, but it's grown on me...a little!

    I doubt anyone will remember the name, but it was a couple blocks west of Snelling, south side of University Ave. Northern Lights was a few blocks east on Snelling. There was another store north of University by a couple blocks on the east side, that wasn't it.
     
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  7. lambfan68

    lambfan68 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minnesota
    I remember both of those places but I don't remember the names either. They didn't last long. I remember buying the first two Petet Gabriel albums as UK imports from the place on Snelling north of University. There was alsona video store near the same area that sold used CDs.

    I worked at Montgomery Ward's on University when I was in high school. Spent a lot of my paycheck at the little CD store inside Northern Lights. I think it was called CD Establishment?
     
  8. aceman400

    aceman400 Black Triangle Fan

    Location:
    mn
    I remember that store. I think it was called Digital Only or Discount Digital. It was on Snelling near Prior.
     
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  9. Blue Gecko

    Blue Gecko Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Definitely something "Digital", maybe "All Digital". I recently ran into a price sticker on a used CD from the store. I'll look for the CD, but I may have removed the sticker.
     
  10. Fastnbulbous69

    Fastnbulbous69 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    Discount Digital vibrates my memory, I think that might be it! Not a sexy name compared to Northern Lights and Oar Folkjokeopus, Garage D'or, etc., but it served me well during college!
     
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  11. jamesc

    jamesc Formerly Known as Undertow

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    I didn't catch this thread until now but I worked at that Northern Lights around the corner from First Avenue in around 1988-89. I was going to the University at the time and had a lot of fun working at NL. We got comp tickets for shows at First Avenue all the time. I usually worked in that little CD room.

    I used to love going to the Cheapo locations. They had tons of great used vinyl and you could often find rare promo stuff. I remember going to Let It Be and Electric Fetus here and there too. It seems like I remember hearing a story about the owner of Let It Be paying to fly Matt Johnson of The The in to hang out because he was a big fan. Not sure where I heard that or if it's true or if was Let It Be... 30 years ago is a bit blurry!
     
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