By Sarah Kitteringham
CALGARY — Marilyn Hall, the owner of Marda Loop record store The Inner Sleeve and the more recently acquired 16th Avenue store The Audio Spot, has left the record business.
Rather than close down, the stores that operated under her ownership have been purchased and rebranded by three owners, including former staff member Gerry Krochak. As one of the managing partners of Turn It Up! Records & Hi-Fi, he has been working alongside his partners Justin Donovan and Peter Anderson to improve upon the current collection, diversify the stores, and improve the “pricing structure” of existing stock.
“Some of the things that people have commented on, very early on, is we are certainly working on our pricing structure, to be much more competitive, especially with things like new vinyl,” begins Krochak. In addition to being a staff member at the old store, the “’80s thrash” and “New York punk scene” loving Krochak has been an entertainment writer for 28 years.
He explains that big changes have been made at both locations, which had their soft open in July and will celebrate a grand opening in September with a big music sale. They’ve since done away with the punch card system, instead creating a database of “friends and customers” so that “discounts are applied automatically.”
“The big thing is, when you have stores like this, you want to have the stuff. We want to get better on new release day and be competitively priced. Certainly with our audio gear, our vintage stuff and new stuff, is to have new products. So as far as changes that will be different, there will be concert art that we are going to be selling, as well as vintage toys and games, especially vintage video games…. We want to allocate space for things like that on a trial basis.”
Rather than utilizing the monikers developed by Hall, the partners decided to rebrand. They wanted both stores to have similar inventory, although the 16th Avenue location will continue to facilitate vintage equipment repairs while both locations will be selling new and vintage audio equipment. In the future, they plan to also open a website and online store.
“We thought that was essential,” says Krochak.
“The big advantage about having two stores is you want to bring a consistency to both of them. With how you’re marketing and how you are able to get out into the community. To have one name and to start pulling both stores into a real similar structure and products and all of that.”
Turn It Up! Records & Hi-Fi Inc. will have their grand opening on September 12th and 13th. To celebrate, they’ll be having a sale and will have tents set up full of records, tapes, and CDs priced for $1 or free with an inside purchase. Food will also be available. You can visit them at 632 – 16th Ave. N.W. or in Marda Loop at 3411 – 20th St. S.W., Unit #117.AB, Alberta, Calgary record stores, Turn It Up! Records & Hi-Fi Inc.