The space was finished, floors swept and dusted, Tiffany lamp strung up in its corner, local artwork hung on the walls. Friends and family took photos as CB unlocked the metal grates and flipped the sign to “open” for the first time. The sunny afternoon was perfect, and we put a record on the turntable. Record Breakers had finally re-opened its doors.
Not knowing exactly what to expect, we watched as people trickled in : friends, family, the Reggies Crew and a few curious locals wondering what had become of the new storefront. Within an hour, the store was filled to capacity. People crowded the racks and the snack table, munching on macaroni, corn muffins and chips. John from Jackalope Coffee & Tea House provided doughnuts and coffee for “record shopping fuel.” Thanks to Sluggo, Brit and Michelle, cold brews were provided in a pinch from Revolution Brewery, when we thought we wouldn’t have beer. 😧
Local jazz trio, Bracket, broke in the new space with two, hour-long sets on the wooden stage in the back of the room. Without a PA, the acoustic sounds of horn, drums and bass drifted to the front without trouble. Having so many friends and family in the same place at the same time made the Grand Re-Opening extra special, since so many of our friends and family are rarely in the same place. Thanks for coming out and helping us celebrate ! It was great to see you all.
Finding a storefront was the easy part. Transforming a building that was a photography studio in the 1960’s and then a print shop into a record store ? Not so much. The demolition took a month just to clear out all the dust and debris. One of the nastier tasks involved tearing down the old, tin ceiling. Decades of dirt and soot spilled down on everyone helping with the project, probably taking a year off their lives, and was “worse than being a garbage man for a summer” (according to CB).
CB and Kratz wanted to keep the integrity of the building’s bricks, but that involved an intensive sand-blasting process as they had accumulated fifty years or more of grime. Donnie, from Reggies, tore through the dusty drywall with an axe, tearing into the flimsy gypsum panels like a viking on a raid. Next on the project list was the stage. CB and his band mate, Goose, collected wood from a metal factory in Northbrook; the weather-beaten wood added a rustic tone to the room with its red-brick walls and dark flooring. One thing was kept from the photo studio – a vintage, baby blue counter that could easily have been found in a post-war American kitchen.
The first jams to be played in the record store were supplied by a boombox CB has had since he was a kid. Not the most hi-fi, but a sort of breaking-in of the new space. The list of people to thank for their help on the project is long : the Reggies Crew migrated from home base at 2105 South State Street to help, including Keith, Donnie, Mizzo, Ed, Brendan, Sluggo, Sean and Erynne, but we also had loads of help from other friends – Amy, Goose, Chauncey, Tom the Mason, Fred, Michelle, Ashley Ono and Lara (who painted the rad mural).
As always, thank you to Robby and thank you to Reggies for all the support. Come out and help us break in the new space on 10 September from 5 to 9 pm – there will be beer, coffee and live music !
So everyone knows Breakers has a pretty nifty collection of previously-owned records – you can find anything from Parliament to Stan Getz to Thin Lizzy. BUT we’ve also got all the new stuff for which you’ve impatiently been counting the days on the calendar :
Check out new releases for July – including Girlpool, Imagine Dragons, Charles Lloyd Quartet, the Sid & Nancy soundtrack “Love Kills,” and Sampha.
And what kind of record store would we be if we didn’t include new releases from local bands ? Come by, chat a bit and pick up your copy of “Errors” by Chicago’s own Absolutely Not. Note : The Melvins double EP, “A Walk with Love and Death,” also released this month, is a worthy contender to be the next addition to your record collection.
The rumors are indeed true. Breakers is moving to a new home, a store front at 2935 N Milwaukee Ave in the Avondale neighborhood. While the Breakers crew is busy gutting and rehabbing our new home, check back here (or better come and visit us in-store !) to see how things are going. Thank you to Robby and the Reggies crew for the past ten years on the second floor of 2105 South State Street. From all of us at Breakers – we’ll miss the shows downstairs vibrating the floors and the TACOS (like really really miss ’em).