Shopping: Spoonful Records
How crazy do you have to be to open a record store a decade after digital downloads started driving a stake through the heart of music retail?
"People at the bank are like, 'What are you thinking?'" said Brett Ruland, the former graphic designer who decided to expand Spoonful Records, the label he's run since 2003, into a storefront stocked with vinyl.
Spoonful opens Saturday in a Long Street space next door to B1 Bicycles. Ruland hopes the shop will be a cool place to hang out, both literally - he's working on air-conditioning solutions at the moment - and figuratively.
Besides new and used vinyl by the likes of Nick Cave, Spiritualized and Pavement, he installed pinball machines, a checkerboard floor, old theater seats and a leather couch to liven up the place.
"Nowadays, you can pretty much get anything you want online at the push of a button. Everything is at your fingertips," Ruland said. "I kind of long for the days when you might bump into somebody or you don't know what's going on at a place. Something great could be happening, and you just stumble upon it."
One of the ways Ruland hopes to attract people is by hosting frequent in-store performances. He's keeping a P.A. system on hand, and all of the record racks are on wheels to facilitate clearing space for a crowd.
He hopes to appeal to quieter acts that can't be heard in bars and underage musicians who aren't allowed inside them.
While Ruland has many ideas about how to cultivate a unique atmosphere in his store - he envisions coffee, magazines and musical instruments as possible future inventory - his focus is the records because that's what he knows best.
While gems from Ruland's personal collection comprise the bulk of his inventory, he sees his main challenge as keeping fresh, exciting records in stock after the initial surge of buyers.
"How can I make this a place where other people want to be?" Ruland said. "Ultimately I have to make it a place I would want to be every day."
116 E. Long St., Downtown
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11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 12-6 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday