"I’m not trying to run a clearance bin or a museum," says Friesen (left).
When you think of genius business moves in 2017, opening a used-record shop doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Since the advent of Napster in 1999, the general trend for record stores has been death as opposed to birth. But local shops such as Cow, M-Theory, and Lou’s have all found ways to survive. Now, La Mesa native Nicholas Friesen and his wife Lynn have decided the time is right to open Re-Animated Records.
8320 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa
“I’ve been buying and selling collections online, but I’ve worked in stores, too. I know what kind of product just walks through the door and falls in your lap when you have an open door. If the price was right, and the neighborhood was good, I always thought it would be pretty easy to justify the overhead just based on product walking through the door,” Friesen said.
After considering a location in South Park that was “half the space for twice the money,” Friesen remembered a space that he had checked-out on La Mesa Boulevard five years prior. A drive-by yielded a glance at a “Going Out Of Business” sign in the storefront. He contacted the landlord and soon had the keys. Getting the store up and running wasn’t too tricky — he had managed the Midway location of Music Trader for eight years. It was the final location of the local chain to shut down and was still profitable when it closed.
Friesen learned some lessons via Music Trader’s mistakes; these included making sure to stock to the customers’ tastes as opposed to your own, not letting your employees buy all your best used products, and not buying too much junk.
“Most of the CDs, in most of those stores, were there for decades. I’m not trying to run a clearance bin or a museum. I want to buy stuff and price it right so it goes out the door just as soon as it comes in,” he said.
Friesen knows how to play the game, but it’s still somewhat amazing how many people are buying physical media after its death was predicted close to two decades ago. Friesen cites collecting as being akin to a disease in which people accumulate items, put them in order, and fawn over them.
“It’s just like a weird disposition that some people have, and I don’t think that’s gonna go away,” he concluded.