Never enough vinyl. Photo courtesy Dan Cook
Dan Cook is well aware that Highland Park is already home to several vinyl record stores. But that did not scare him away from moving his Gimme Gimme Records out of its New York City location and plunking it into a York Boulevard storefront. Cook said the proximity of other Highland Park vinyl shops – Mount Analog and Wombleton – is actually good for business.
“I think that having a concentration of record stores in one area is attractive and convenient to customers,” said Cook, who operated his store in New York’s East Village for 18 years. “Each store has it’s own strengths and interests, and I think that we are pretty complimentary to each other. I saw this happen to my shop in NYC. Someone opened a shop across the street from me, and I was initially worried that it might take away business. But things actually got better.”
The 46-year-old former New Yorker had been running his East Village store by remote in recent years after he and his wife moved to Highland Park.
“I was running the NYC store from Highland Park for about two years,” said Cook. “I would go on Skype and look at the record collections that people brought in to the shop to sell. My guys working at the shop would flip through the piles in front of the camera and then tell me the condition. We priced the records that way too. I was like a disembodied presence over there – customers started to call me ‘Max Headroom.’ It was kinda great, I could see everyone coming and going in their giant winter coats with wool hats and gloves, and I’d be in a t-shirt and shorts.”
But Cook decided to close his East Village store after a sharp rent increase and move his operation to Los Angeles. After looking at several locations, he settled on a small, vacant free-standing building in the 4600 block of York Boulevard that once housed a real estate agent and accounting firm. The West Coast home of Gimme Gimme Records is painted a bright blue and showcases his stock of between 15,000 to 20,000 records ranging from Rock n Roll and Jazz to Hip Hop and Disco. Prices range from $1 to $250, with most of the records selling in the $5-$25 range, Cook said.
Highland Park is certainly not the East Village but there is certainly a lot going on, Cook said. “It’s also a great mix of all types of people … less homogenized than some neighborhoods – it kinda reminds me of how NYC used to be when I first moved there in the early 90’s.”
Cook will be holding a grand opening party for Gimme Gimme Records on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 4 p.m.
* Correction: An earlier version of this story said Mono Records is located in Highland Park. That’s wrong. It’s in Echo Park.