Thirteen years ago today, Broadway Records exited our universe. In late May of 2005, Face the Music followed, and that was that. Rochester’s independent and used (the only kind that actually matter) record stores were dead and gone.
As then-high school senior Kirin Furst observed in a Teen Beat column back in September of 2005, “Face the Music left us to the barren plain of a corporate wasteland.”
These days, though, there aren’t even big corporate record shops to look through. The internet came and blasted the whole industry to pieces. Still, streaming and piracy can’t solve everything, and the need for a record shop has been palpable.
Today, we celebrate the sputtering flame of a new dawn. Rochester Records has risen from the ashes of this city’s independent retailer scene and you can thank a man called Huss for answering the call. Well, Hussein Esmailzadeh, but everyone calls him Huss. He used to run Man Cave Consignments.
“Over the last six to eight months, we sold a lot more records than anything else. Had a lot of different people saying, ‘God, I wish there was a record store in Rochester again.’ I thought to myself, why not? Let’s do it. I got the space, I own the building,” said Esmailzadeh.
The store already has a large selection of $1 to $5 LPs, but other records creep into the $20 to $80 price range, thanks to their rarity. More are on the way. 50,000 records come in soon from several large vendors from Minneapolis.
Huss also plans to set up a couple record players so people can listen and hang out, and will preserve elements of the thrift store like VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs, comics, and a few collectibles.
The townspeople have already responded to the need: “We are currently not really setup to be fully open as of today, because of the remodel,” Huss explained, “but I decided to be anyhow, because the demand is huge as far as the collectors.”
Huss plans to invest in a professional record cleaner to offer as a service to pre-existing collectors.
Down the road, he’ll get into new vinyl. His goal now is to keep the selection fresh and ever-changing.
For our younger readers – just imagine that your phone didn’t exist. Imagine the music-finding tools you have now are only a glimmer in some schmuck’s eye. Radio was as corporate as it is now. The Current was in its infancy. Bit rates on KaZaa were pathetic. If you wanted a snobby take on what music to buy, you needed to be in a record store.
Physical records are rad. They sound better. They come with bigger artwork. They’re easier to listen all the way through to. Go to Rochester Records. Here’s a list of stuff to look for if you don’t know where to start. I already have these but if you buy one and hate what you hear, come down to the Post-Bulletin offices and I’ll happily buy your unwanted copy.
King Curtis – Live at Fillmore West, 1971
Isaac Hayes – Chocolate Chip, 1975
Curtis Mayfield – Short Eyes, 1977
Gap Band – Gap Band IV, 1982
Antonio Carlos Jobim – Wave, 1969
Bob James – One, 1974