Digital seems to have wiped out the Blockbusters and Barnes & Nobles of the world, but some stores selling now-retro items remain standing. GoJohnnyGo Records, a real, live record store, is such a store in White Bear Lake.
“The resurgence is here,” owner Johnny Kass says. “It hit White Bear Lake a few years ago when we opened the store downtown, and we haven’t looked back over our shoulder once.”
Kass has sold records via mail-order since 1982, with much of his business coming from overseas. “I buy unwanted records in Minnesota and sell them out of the country, which is great for the American economy,” he says. “I’m an exporter of cast-off items and bring dollars back to the U.S.A.”
Then Kass noticed that his customer base had shifted to America. Thus, the White Bear Lake store was born in 2013. He has since helped open seven other stores in the metro area.
The store tends to draw in young hipsters and old burn-outs alike, Kass says. He finds the presence of online music tends to fuel the desire for vinyl.
“The music’s availability online actually drives vinyl sales, too, as it allows a much wider selection to be heard by record hounds and collectors,” he explains.
Although listening to music online may be convenient, “vinyl on an honest-to-god turntable is the real deal,” Kass says.
“People collect records for 1,001 different reasons,” Kass says. He recommends Low Cut Connie, a rock and roll band from Philadelphia with five albums available. “They play in Minnesota every few months, and their records are as much of a party as their live show is,” he says.
Discover new arrivals at the shop every Tuesday and Friday morning.