The new Eclipse Records storefront before the move-in. / Photos courtesy Eclipse
After moving to his store’s fourth location in its 16-year history, Eclipse Records owner Joe Furth found an easier way to go about his latest relocation in downtown St. Paul.
“This time we only went a block away, so that helped,” said Furth, whose new storefront in downtown St. Paul opened in time for the Black Friday Record Store Day sales. The new site is the former Shinders bookstore at 419 N. Wabasha St., which has been vacant since whenever America stopped being literate (2007).
Besides getting a better deal on rent, Furth chose the new location because it’s bigger, and because it’s just around the corner from the Palace Theater, now deep into renovations to reopen under First Avenue management in time for its 100th anniversary late next year.
“I think it’s going to be a great space for hosting in-stores with bands and other special events,” Furth bragged.
Thus, the new space could hark back to the first and probably still best-loved Eclipse Records location on Grand Avenue near Macalaster College, which opened in 1999 and closed in 2003 after neighbors kept complaining of all those kids making all that damn racket. The store reopened in 2006 on University Avenue near Hwy. 280 just around the corner from where Barely Brothers Record is now (but was still too much of a dead zone then).
With support from Mayor Chris Coleman’s team, Eclipse was brought to downtown in 2011 as part of a redevelopment that included the neighboring Amsterdam Bar & Grill. Furth said, “Our partnership with the Amsterdam never really panned out,” but he made it clear he hasn’t lost any faith in downtown St. Paul, nor in the record retail business.
“Business has been good, especially when we changed our focus to mainly selling vinyl,” he reported. Look for some grand reopening events at Eclipse in the coming months.
In the meantime, like all record stores, the store will be heavily stocked with limited-edition Record Store Day exclusive releases on Friday. Other local stores promoting RSD offers and other fresh stock for the big shopping day include the Electric Fetus, Treehouse, Roadrunner (all listing 9 a.m. openings) and another newly relocated mainstay, the Minneapolis outlet of Cheapo Records, now at 2600 Nicollet Av. S.