Opened in 1967, Beverly Records is one of Chicago’s oldest record stores. Located on the south side and known as a must-see place for rare vinyl records, the record store was kind enough to answer our questions. Discover the interview below!
Beverly Records – The Shop
Can you introduce your shop to us?
Beverly Records is located on the south side of Chicago and has become known for its vast selection of every type of genre of music. From 45’s, from obscure political and spoken word records to the latest releases, there is nothing that is off-limits here.
What’s the story behind Beverly Records?
The store opened in 1967 when Mrs. Dee needed a hobby. Mrs. Dee had 3 boys, all of draft age, and would worry nightly about the fate of her family during the Vietnam-era.
At first Mr. Dee was sympathetic, but after a year or so of hearing “all my boys are going to die!” and “what are we going to do when all my boys are dead.”; Mr Dee knew he had to take action.
Luckily there was a novelty store and building for sale for not much more than the cost of a used Pontiac close to their house. Mr. Dee bought the building and the business and let Mrs. Dee know they now needed someone to run the place. She took on the challenge. Mrs. Dee was in here element, talking to customers like they were lifelong friends, she soon had a very large customer base that included a lot of people who were interested in rare records. She would gather a wish-list and hit the road looking for albums and soon found she had a knack for it. By 1977 Beverly Records had become one of the premier destinations for rare records in the United States.
Mrs. Dee’s son, Jack, would become involved in the business end of things and would open up 4 additional stores throughout Chicago. By the 90’s, record sales had declined and so did the number of Beverly Records’ locations. Stores were consolidated back to a single location to take on the lean years. The good news is business is booming again as vinyl goes through this recent renaissance.
…we have found that selling music has less to do with collecting and more to do with stirring memories
The daily life of a record store, what does it look like?
Record Shops have to be lean and mean, luckily Beverly Records owns its own property so is free from loosing its lease. Using junk mail with one blank side as paper in the copy machine is just one of the ways Beverly Records continues to keep the lights on and prices reasonable for the everyday record collectors.
What are your strengths over the competition around?
Beverly Records resides in what could be called a “Record Store Desert”. There are dozens of record stores all over the North Side of Chicago and only a handful on the South Side and zero in the south suburbs. We can’t rest knowing we are the only choice though; we still provide the service and support you would expect.
A nice anecdote to tell us since the opening of the shop?
Time and time again we have found that selling music has less to do with collecting and more to do with stirring memories. We have countless stories about how customers have realized how the songs of their life can bring back great memories.
How is the record market doing in Chicago?
Things look great for the record industry since vinyl is once again the preferred format for releasing music.
Your typical customer? Rather passionate or neophyte? What are they looking for in your shop?
Can’t pinpoint a typical customer. We have 15-20 year olds and looking to get into the hobby, singers and songstresses from the 60’s and 70’s looking for their music on old records, the occasional celebrity, and customers that have been coming in since we opened.
It [Record Store Day] saved us, it saved records
The 5 best records of this year according to you?
New artists aren’t really a big deal to our customers. They prefer the classics.
Your personal musical tastes?
All of is here at the shop have been exposed to so many genres. There is now way to pinpoint one and say this is our taste. It depends on the mood, the season, and who knows?
According to you?
What are your thoughts on the Record Store Day?
It saved us, it saved records.
Your thoughts on the digital music?
It introduces people to music which is good. The best part is that it sounds so bad that when someone hears vinyl for the first time they are blown away, which is good for us!
Any specific projects for the future?
Business as usual!
Want to add something about yourself?
We hast vinyl nights throughout the south side at different taverns and bars which is a fun way to connect with our customers outside of work!
Where to find Beverly Records:
Visit the shop in 360°
Photos credit: Courtesy of Beverly Records
Thanks to the Beverly Records team for this great interview!