Around 4 a.m. on Monday, June 22, a mezzanine in the Hillcrest location of Thrift Trader (1644 University Avenue) collapsed — apparently due to excessive weight from old, boxed vinyl records. Merchandise and debris from the second floor shattered a window on the south side of the building and spilled out onto the sidewalk along University Avenue. The store has been red-tagged by the city.
On Wednesday, June 24, store employee Heather West was turning away potential customers who had shown up unaware of the incident. One gentleman thought a car had crashed into the portion of the building that was boarded up with plywood. West explained the collapse to him, but then added, coincidentally, that a car had crashed into another Thrift Trader location once.
In true Murphy’s Law fashion, the vinyl stored upstairs was primarily of the 99-cent variety, while the vinyl that it landed on after the structural failure sold for $5.99 downstairs. In essence, the expensive vinyl may have cushioned the cheap vinyl’s fall. A record aficionado’s worst nightmare. According to West, as of now the store has no idea what can be salvaged from the incident, as the damaged portion of the building is completely off-limits for the time being.
As for when the location may reopen, West has no idea. She said all that she had heard was, “We have to wait to hear from the City about what we have to do.”
The Hillcrest location was known for its expansive vinyl selection. According to one (6/4/15) rather foreshadowing review on Yelp by user “Ernie B.,” “When I say they have a ton of music it's in the literal sence [sic] TONS!!” At approximately 6.7 ounces per record, 4776 albums stored upstairs would have equaled one American ton (2000 lbs.) of weight.
Another Yelp reviewer, “Elizabeth C.,” hinted at the colossal size of the selection: “A lot of the stuff is in real shoddy shape and there is the disturbing amount of Loverboy/Tijuana Brass you'll need to sift through to get anything good. However, unlike most places that house such an unruly amount of undesirable vinyl, this place actually has some pretty good stuff — as long as you're willing to dig...and dig.”
Thrift Trader owner Jeff Clark did not return calls regarding the incident. Actual counts and weight of the vinyl on the second floor, and whether or not they violated any sort of lease agreement with the owners of the building is unknown by the Reader at this time.
Before Thrift Trader moved in, the building was occupied by another business of the thrift shop variety, Revivals. Revivals utilized the upstairs space as an area to showcase furniture — a rather terrifying thought in hindsight. That mezzanine may have been one playful bounce on a mattress away from becoming an afterschool special. If there is any luck to be doled out regarding this incident, it’s that the accident occurred after-hours when no employees or customers were present.