Hope all of you had a lovely Thanksgiving.
The holiday season is now upon us, and, while I’m not much of a shopper, I had a fun day checking out local stores. It’s small business Saturday, and I wanted to support the little guys that are essential threads of a community.
My first stop was the vinyl store Blue Groove Soundz. At first, I couldn’t figure out where it was. I had parked on the other side of the street and wandered around like a tourist, but I eventually figured out that it was a basement store. When I arrived, I saw a sign that said “Back in 5,” so I walked back across the street and checked out The Italian Store. Lots of Italiano foodie stuff going on in there, which was inspiring since I love to cook. I kept myself in check and just walked out with fresh jumbo pasta shells stuffed with ricotta and a bag of dried pappardelle. I chatted with the lady at the counter, and she said I should visit their flagship, which, it turns out, is actually much closer to our home.
I then walked a few doors down to Westover Market, which, note to self for future leisure reference, also has a beer garden. They’ve got a butcher shop and, naturally, an impressive selection of meat products. I picked up some ground lamb; that’ll get my creative juices flowing, along with the pasta from The Italian Store.
After I dropped my foodie buys in the car, I walked back to Blue Groove. I liked the place instantly. (As I write this, I’m grooving on The Roots “do you want more?!!!??!,” which, of course, I got from Blue Groove). It’s a small shop with an excellent selection of LP vinyl and 45s. You’ll find new and used vinyl in the form of everything from classic rock to pop to hip-hop to jazz to classic country and blues. I was impressed that there were several LPs of Earl Hines in the stacks. A guy named Greg (I think he’s the owner) was friendly and helpful when I asked him for his opinion of certain albums. Record Store Day coincided with Black Friday this year, and he was ready with a special selection.
I felt nostalgic in there. It reminded me of the scene in “Almost Famous” when Lester Bangs, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, is at the radio station and goes off on his spiel of how “true music chooses you”. Blue Groove evoked my psychic space of home, where I listen and think and express myself and, at the heart of it all, flow.
From Blue Groove, I drove on to One More Page Books. This small indie bookstore was full of customers on Small Business Saturday. The staff were open with suggestions when I asked for recommendations, and I even got tips from a fellow customer when we got into a conversation about novels from Kazuo Ishiguro and Haruki Murakami. I ended up choosing Murakami’s “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.”
I’m not much of a shopper, but it felt good discovering new things and supporting local stores today. I’ve got new places to go.