November 23, 2004

2nd Hand Tunes gets a second chance

Hyde Park Records opened its doors last Friday in the former location of the recently closed 2nd Hand Tunes. The store, located on 1377 East 53rd Street, is co-owned by John Brearley, Derek Erdman, and Boomer Lowe.

The opening party, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., featured music by DJ Meaty Ogre, as well as plenty of merchandise, mostly in CD and vinyl form. Other than music, the store will also sell stereo equipment, DVDs, and VHS, though no such merchandise was displayed on Friday. "We were just concerned about the music first and foremost," Lowe said.

The co-owners have been collecting music for more than 20 years combined, and their personal collections make up the backbone of the store's merchandise. CD genres include jazz, classical, world, reggae, comedy, soundtrack, electronic, blues, vocal, soul, and rap. There's even country, though it has only an eighth of the shelf space soul music does.

The vinyl selection was not as broad, though the store will have more soon. A sign near the records read, "In our mad dash to open the doors, we were unable to price all of our LPs. This selection represents 10 percent of what we'll have in the near future. Please check back soon." Still, the artists in 12-inch singles ranged from Stevie Wonder to OutKast to Devo.

After pointing out that most used record stores are lacking certain genres, UIC student Luis Garcia, a friend of Erdman's and an attendee at the opening, said he was impressed by the "huge selection" at the store. "It's one of the best in Chicago," he said.

The three owners, all of whom had worked for 2nd Hand Tunes before starting Hyde Park Records, knew the location had potential. 2nd Hand Tunes "always did well, it just wasn't cared for," Erdman said.

2nd Hand Tunes closed the first week of October, and the three counted on their own hard work—plus their family and friends—to turn the store's appearance around so quickly. "It wasn't a comfortable place to hang out in," Lowe said. Working for up to 16 hours a day, they replaced the old floor tiles, installed incandescent lighting, and painted the walls a warm peach. They also added a computer inventory system, something 2nd Hand Tunes lacked.

The wall decor features both vinyl album covers and Erdman's own art. His paintings, including hamburgers and panda bears, are for sale too: He'll make replications for interested customers, just in case dorm residents can't live without having a bandaged octopus on their wall.

Marlon Miller, a Hyde Park resident who was at the event, said 2nd Hand Tunes was "like a second home" to him, and was relieved that a local music store was not gone for good. Citing more accessible music and a less dingy atmosphere in Hyde Park Records, he said the store "looks 10 times better than it did before."

Miller, who is looking forward to the reopening of the Checkerboard, said he wants Hyde Park to "stay a music-oriented community." The Hyde Park Records owners certainly agree. "It's good to have more music fans congregating in the area," Lowe said.

Brearley had been to the Checkerboard before it closed and "liked it a lot," but he has more plans for live music in the community. "I want to have jazz trios playing [at Hyde Park Records] on Sundays," he said.

He encouraged student musicians, jazz or otherwise, to ask about performance opportunities.

The three owners were pleased with the success of their opening night. Numbers in the store averaged about two-dozen, but there were as many as 42. "We had no idea it was going to be this busy," Lowe said. "We thought we'd just loaf around, talking to our friends all night." Erdman added, "We've done better tonight than 2nd Hand Tunes has done in years."

Hyde Park Records is open from 11a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.