BLOG: Remember Mom and Pop Stores

If Circuit City and Virgin Megastores are going out of business, I can only imagine how mom and pop stores are doing.

There was a time where I purchased most of my CDs at mom and pop stores. A few years back I used to go to Beat Street on Fulton Ave in Brooklyn between classes. I wasn’t a DJ or anything, but still sort of a digger at the time. Each visit, I spent at least 30 minutes just combing the store for the latest underground releases. I didn’t bother with anything mainstream. BET, MTV and Hot 97 had that covered. At the time, I’d buy certain records blindly without hearing a note. I remember copping Phat Kat’s J Dilla-produced single featuring “Dedication To The Suckers,” “Don’t Nobody Care About Us” and I think the third song was something like “Microphone Check” or something. If somebody has one of those tracks on MP3, holler at your boy. I still have my record somewhere but not player, so I can’t even listen to it.

I guess Beat Street isn’t the traditional mom and pop spot, but it wasn’t a huge chain either. I’d also stop by Fat Beats every now and then. But usually if it wasn’t Beat Street, I’d go to this little spot on Jamaica Ave on my way back home. I can’t quite remember the name, though. Beat Street is long gone now and I don’t go to the Ave much since I moved, so I’m not even sure if that store is still in business.

What about you guys? Tell me about the mom and pop stores in your city. Is it still around, or out of business. Do you still go there?

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  • Pierzy

    Mom & Pop stores of every genre are going out of business. These maega-stores (Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe’s, etc) are taking over.

    Here in Philly, REPO RECORDS on South Street was my favorite “boutique” store of choice.

    • Rob the Music Ed

      Man i miss Beat Street in Brooklyn! SMH. I remember when they kept the records up on the 4th floor and you had to climb all those damn stairs.

      When they moved and put it in the basement, i remember cutting school and waiting on line to get Life After Death!


    yea its a couple mom & pop stores in my neck of da woods. one korean & one white. but if they take up my swisher cigarillos (or dutches, what do u guys smoke?) another fuckin cent… lets face it i’ll still buy it but damn. tobacco prices went up like a mo-fo. SMH…

  • giantstepp

    The Record Shop was the joint I copped my sounds as a youngsta. Alabama Ave, SE Wash DC. Those were the days.

  • Worley

    Music Factory was the spot on the Ave. They have been closed for a minute. Record labels are partially to blame but then again can you blame them? In one shipment, Wal-Mart will purchase what it takes a mom and pop months to sell so the labels spend more on distribution with mom and pops. Record labels pretty much froze them out of the equation.

  • D-lo

    in Cleveland my first job was a mom n pop store Dolls Rapid Creations…had more fun in there than any bigger chain store remember getting Big One more chance remix with the gold black n white cover.(tell me if u remember that)

  • UARK83

    Fat Beats did the right thing…they formed a label with some of the best hip-hop talent in the game. I don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon…but they may no longer be considered “Mom and Pop”.

  • Adam

    We have Homer’s (, the greatest store in the world, here in Omaha. They’re doing ok, but recently closed one of their 4/5 locations.

  • Tim

    In London, the Music & Video Exchange store. They’re used record shops (as the name suggests) and I’m at my happiest flipping through the vinyl and CDs there. This week’s purchases: Brother Ali’s last album and Aloe Blacc.

    • BIGNAT

      oh near me i have the cd depot thats where i got all my dilla stuf from

  • Mutada al sader the king

    Shiiiit remember records stores in general?

  • Jhon da Analyst

    The Record Shack…………downtown Goldsboro, NC

  • Curtis75Black

    I live down in Miami, so I had 2 spots that I would venture off to. One was on 167 and North Miami Beach around the Mall but closed down around last year or so. The other one is on South Beach off Washington. That one is still running pretty smooth because of the constant traffic. The names escape me but whenever I head out to the beach I ride up in there to see what lost cd’s I can find or if they have any new Mix cds. Those stores are great for DJs because you need that Old School and if you’re a true music Head, you’ll want that shit that can’t be found in target, walmart of even Best Buy !!

  • Tony Grand$

    In Los Angeles & Long Beach we have/had V.I.P. records.

    • Pierzy

      Made famous by Snoop & Warren G (and others)

      • Tony Grand$

        Yessir P!

        The couple ones left here in L.A. are pretty low key, a couple went out of business, but the one in L.B., fuck that one. You could LITERALLY get shot going there. Snoop was repping that spot for a reason. You need “street cred” just to park on the lot, walk inside & use your real cred, ha!

  • Tony Grand$

    I think the Net is the new “mom n pop” store.

    I was just fucking around one day & I found this Souls of Mischief song called “Taxi Driver” that I’d heard about like 15 years ago, supposedly from their actual demo. They couldn’t release it legally because it sampled the show “Taxi”, no clearance. I looked all over CA @ one point trying to find it.

    5 minutes in the Net, I found it. Downloaded it, listened to int twice, then erased it, lol.

    • My Effin’ Opinion

      This is the truth right here … the internet is the new “mom & pop store” … sheeit, you don’t even need the money “mom & pop” did to open a store either, E-Bay and Craiglists are ultimate “mom & pop” anything you wanna buy cheap you get it. Also, there are a multitude of smaller websites where you can buy anything from printed shirts (with anything written on the) to a 4-track, etc.

      mom & pop don’t need a store no more. Just a make-shift web address.

  • DV8

    there is this chain of local based record stores out here in Sacramento called Dimples. They the only ones I fuck with. In a very rare case I cant find what im looking for from them, I hit Best Buy or FYE.

  • El Tico Loco

    I forgot about mom and pop stores, here would be Earwax and Peppermint’s, we have Big Oomp record stores but come on, I’m not in the matrix. Mom and pop stores are a dying breed but we will alway have bootlegs in the barbershop.

  • Phlip

    I started to respond to this, then my response started to go WAAAAAY long as I started to think about it, it made me feel like that crotchety old dude, I actually MISS our mom-and-pops stores here, even though they were routinely 2-5 bucks more each…
    I blogged it instead, click on my name to go there if you like.

  • freakzilla504

    How about Peaches(the old location)and groove city(gentilly mall) in New Orleans.Those were the days.

    • LB

      Groove City, Gentilly Mall? Man bruh. *sigh*

  • DownSouth

    In Little Rock, Arkansas, I was alwayz at Camelot Music. They had almost anything you wanted, underground and mainstream, and if they didn’t have it then, they could order. I gotta lotta my Too $hort and Three 6 Mafia there. I still buy CD’s but now it’s at Best Buy since Camelot is closed in the A-State.


  • $ykotic

    3rd time trying!

    Beat Street, Fat Beats, Tower(downtown & uptown), and of course Bleecker St. You could run into Preemo or D. Dot, Easy Mo, Rocwilder,….

    When in Portland, OR they have like 2 mom & pops left. One of them even sells cassettes on the cheap!

    But now with the ‘net you don’t get to vibe with the crate digging homies.

    So sad.

    • BIGNAT

      i was at the tower closing of the uptown one. i got all of the metal fingers aka mf doom special herbs cd’s. then my dumb ass forgot i had them and bought the box set later when it came out.


    all my spots are gone i just use to walk down past washington square park and find places. i remember i was bored waiting for a friend and found this cool ass store they had all used cd’s for 5 bucks. i got the dirty vegas cd and what would be my 3rd copy of redman muddy waters. i got madlib shades of blue also that was a good day. the virgin megastore on 14th use to be good but the re did the bottom and now it sucks. there selection is still very diverse but the prices will kick you in the nuts. come on man they was charging 15.99 for for the roots things fall apart. i bought it because mines got fucked up and i support classic material but tham.

  • Kani

    Does Sam Goody count as a mom an pop store?? Cuz that’s all we got down here that’s worth shopping at in the gump.

  • Jesus Martinez

    I used to go to this pretty big one in New Orleans before Katrina destroyed it. There’s another local one I go to in Pensacola that’s got a lot of old out of print shit, and all the new mixapes and underground stuff. It’s unorganized like a muthafucka so you gotta have a lot of time to dig around.

  • Beast McCoy

    Well in Buffalo there’s Record Theatre, Friz B’s, Uptown Records and Doris Records but my preference is Record Theater. RT had everything from the mainstream to the obscure. I bought my first record there and I mean record [LP] not CD. I loved these kind of stores because many times you’ll find stuff you can’t find anywhere like out of print albums to promos they sell for a buck. The only other store that gets as much love from me is Sam the Record Man in Toronto and that’s because they have EVERYTHING, the only problem there is how much do you really want it because I’ve seen some hard to find albums sell there for as much as 7x to 10x the original retail price. Good times and great service keeps many of these stores afloat due to there loyal customers who still love to shop hands on instead of with a mouse. There’s nothing like the feeling of finding “that” treasure in one of these stores.

  • Ben

    J.P. records, Casa Grande Az.

  • Some Guy From Toronto

    I got your Phat Kat mp3′s …


    My favorite record i ver bought by far was at a old rcord store in the middle of downtown Wilmington Delaware but the name of the store i can’t remember , but the record was Cool Rock J “Suckers to the Side” . That song is still banging to this day . Look it up . Also the only small mom an pop near me is Wonderland in Newark Delaware and they support local hip-hop which is great along with current releases , mixtapes , and can even order that rare copy of Partners-N-Crime “Puttin’ in Work” tape if you need it cuz’ ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little “Pump the Party” when your trying to get it poppin’ . We also have a flea market here in New Castle with a small record store in there with vinyl , tapes , cd , Hood DVD’s and lots else so i am kind of set as far as the mom n pops go .

  • Nate

    Yes, the stores are dying.

    Here in Cali we have still got the “Amoeba” record stores, best I ever saw-largest. The one in SF is larger even than the Hollywood one and there are stores in Berkeley, and other spots. You can find anything you need, trully hundreds of thousands of vinyl, CD’s, and videos.

    The other large store (but not as good as Amoeba) where you might find some other exclusive items is “Rasputin”.

    These are my two main spots in the Bay Area, because I remember buying hundreds of discounted CD’s at the CLOSING of -
    A) The Wherehouse
    B) Tower Records

    C) I missed VIRGIN’s closing but heard they also closed the SF shop.

    • latino heat

      co-sign everything you said Nate. i’m from the Bay too, and there ain’t nothing like Amoeba. the berkeley ones my favorite, i’ve bought hundreds of cd’d and mixtapes for 1 to 3 dollars over the years. rasputins is alright but can’t beat Amoeba’s prices.

  • escobar9300

    Man the closest we have like that out here in the 6-0-2 is a Zia records, thats probably the only spot you can find old and rare hip hop shit, anywhere else is only mainstream bullshit you find on the radio

  • Gucci Pucci

    KINDA’ send the chillz up my spine writting the name.. I got my first 2pac ” ME AGAISNT THE WORLD” CASSETTE up in there-lol.. ALso bought my first ALL EYES ON ME CD up in there..So you know that’s way back..LOX use to swing through promoting their new joint: almost skipped school once just to meet styles and SHeek- fucking missed em’- All the records from back in the days- all the posters of every artist was on the wall- with a little board before the door- on it was all the CD/TAPES that’s about to come out; Labels: westcoast-Eastcoast-DOwnsouth-MIDwest..Back then i rarely even look down the :downsouth list cause they weren’t sht coming from there- Besides Scarface & outcast..I miss that place cause niggaz knew you by Name- Niggaz knew what music you like & what you wanted to hear- RIP to All the MOM & POP STORES….

    • Tony Grand$

      Co-sign that Gucci.

      That personal touch was what would have a dude running back to them moms n pops.

      Niggas knew your name, knew what you liked, talked about the music, gave you posters, stickers, promotional shit.

      I miss that the most @ VIP. I didn’t know anybody’s name except the one female that worked there. Hell, I miss her too, lol.