Triple Played: record store rewind

Record Store Day 2012 is Saturday, April 21. It is a day to celebrate the existence of independent record stores and their patrons.

On May 10, Triple Play Records will start its 25th year in business. We consider ourselves very fortunate to still be a viable business in the community. But if it weren’t for the other locally owned mom-and-pop record stores that have called Grand Junction home since the 1940s, that might not be the case.

Tom Clark Music, which was at 520 Main St., started sometime in the 1940s. We have a mailer from 1944 advertising records, record players, band instruments and sheet music.

“For music that pleases, for instruments that entertain, from symphonic to be-bop we have it all at the Tom Clark Music Company,” was one of their slogans.

Tom Clark also owned Clark and Steen Music, 136 N. Fifth St., at that time. Clark sold that business to Gil Roper in 1956, and the Fifth Street location is still the home of Roper Music.

When I was going to high school in the 1970s, Roper Music sold stereo equipment, records and tapes along with instruments, amplifiers and sheet music.

Reed Miller Jr., whose father owned a car dealership here in the 1950s, opened The Record Room in the mid-1960s on North Avenue. I think it sold all genres of music.

Miller later moved the store downtown and focused mostly on classical music with some opera and early jazz. He was an eccentric man, closing the store every day from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. so he could go to lunch.

I found him to be very personable, and when he finally closed the store we purchased several of his fixtures and still use them today.

Sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s, John Mazzuca opened a Budget Tapes and Records franchise store at 648 Main St.

Steve Scholbe, who was a few years older than me, worked there. I thought Scholbe knew everything about music so I hung out there as much as I could.

I sure bought a lot of records there. Most of them I bought from Scholbe because Mazzuca was pretty cantankerous.

All of their ads were tagged with the slogan “648 Main and diggin’ it!”

Mazzuca later dropped the franchise agreement with Budget Tapes and Records, which opened the way for brothers Paul and Stan Zurek to open one at 529 Main St.

The Zurek brothers operated that store for several years before selling it to Dennis Kos, a high school classmate of theirs from Denver. Kos moved the store to Mesa Mall in the mid-1980s before losing interest and closing it in 1988.

I worked for Kos at the mall, and he used to say that he never should have moved his store from downtown.

Mike Lindsey and Frank Elenz, who went to college in Greeley and used to hang out at the Finest Record Store there and in Fort Collins, moved to Grand Junction and opened Smokestack Records on Rood Avenue between Third and Fourth streets next to an arcade.

I stumbled in there one day and became a customer for life because I hit it off so well with Lindsey and Elenz. They soon moved the store near Roper Music on Fifth Street and then opened a second store at 11th Street and North Avenue in the early 1980s.

Lindsey and Elenz eventually closed the downtown store and sold the North Avenue store to Bonnie Clark, who kept it open until sometime in the mid- to late 1990s.

Even though they were competition, I was sorry to see the store close.

I’m sure I missed something in this history, but that is what I remember.

Thanks to all of those store owners for being there and blazing the trail for us.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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