Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Groove Merchant Story

Iconic San Francisco record store the Groove Merchant celebrated 20 years in business in 2010. A new compilation marking the anniversary is out now.

My piece for the SF Weekly about the shop and its current owner Cool Chris was published today. Read an excerpt below and the full piece on their site.

After 20 Years, the Vinyl Still Spins -- And Sells -- at Groove Merchant Records

Chris Veltri stands behind the cluttered wood counter at Groove Merchant record store. Dressed in a navy peacoat and Levis, with sandy blond bangs draped over his blue eyes, he watches three customers browse his small Lower Haight shop. "Not bad for a Tuesday night," he says casually, his tone suiting his nickname, "Cool Chris," as the customers browse bins filled with vintage jazz, rare soul, disco, hip-hop, and collectible Brazilian records.

Like the vinyl rarities that fill the shop, Groove Merchant is rare survivor -- dozens of old San Francisco record retailers have either closed for good or retreated to largely online sales. But Groove Merchant celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a compilation album on Ubiquity Records and a whole lot of memories -- not all of them good. Staff members have been robbed at gunpoint, thieves have stolen merchandise, and lean times make the business a barely profitable endeavor. Yet Veltri says he can't complain: People are still buying records. [Read the rest of the piece...]