Tim Mays and Eric Howarth and their awesome record collection
After a five-year break, former M-Theory owner Eric Howarth is getting back into the brick-and-mortar record-store business. His new shop will be a mere stone’s throw away from the old M-Theory location on the corner of 30th and Juniper in North Park.
2235 Fern Street, San Diego
“I appreciate having the flexibility to do things when I need to versus having to open at a certain time and close at a certain time. I enjoyed having M-Theory and everything else, but you’re locking into a certain thing if you’re going to be behind the counter at a retail store. That’s just the way it goes,” Howarth said.
Howarth was actually looking to sell off his Vinyl Junkies business, which he refers to as his “mobile record store.” He mentioned it to Tim Mays since Mays’s bar, the Casbah, hosts the Vinyl Junkies Record Swap. To Howarth’s surprise, Mays expressed interest in buying Vinyl Junkies and took up his offer to stay on as a partner.
“I think it’s like in The Godfather III when Michael Corleone says, ‘I thought I was out, but they pulled me back in,’” Howarth explained. “I was trying to get a little more time to pursue these other things. Literally, like the last couple of months I’ve been double-working getting the fixtures ready and record racks and stuff. In the short term, it’s the exact opposite of what the intention was.”
The store concept developed after Howarth and Mays brainstormed ideas for how their new operation should run. They would need a manager, so that would mean an office space as well. Since a separate storage space would be needed to house the vinyl, Howarth said, “the obvious solution was to have a sort of retail store. A small one, but have a retail store.”
The duo settled on a small house across the street from the Whistle Stop Bar. Whistle Stop owner Sam Chammas will be their new landlord. Even though they will be operating out of a non-traditional storefront, Howarth said that the plan is to use this as an asset. Since space is limited, the vinyl selection will be “well-curated” and a back patio will be spruced up for some “happy-hour DJ get-togethers.”