Bart's Music Shack
Address: 236 Pearl St., Boulder
Size: 400 square feet
Online: Facebook.com, search "Bart's Music Shack"
About 20 years after Bart Stinchcomb started selling CDs and vinyl records out of his Boulder home — a business that grew to be one of the city's best-known music sellers until Bart's CD Cellar closed this year — Stinchcomb is getting back to basics.
The music collector who sold the store that bore his name to Value Music Concepts Inc. in 2006 then watched it close Feb. 14 is once again selling compact discs and vinyl records, this time out of a modest 400-square-foot “shack” on west Pearl Street.
Bart's Music Shack opened Saturday, and Stinchcomb said he expects to grow his inventory and business over the next month. He plans to hold a grand-opening event with live music next month, but a specific date hasn't been set.
“It's low-key,” Stinchcomb said of his new business Monday. “It goes back to what we were doing in 1991, when we first started messing around.”
Stinchcomb said his new store — a one-room building in the parking lot behind Borg Real Estate, 236 Pearl St. — will be similar to the original Bart's CD Cellar, except on a smaller scale and with a focus only on used CDs and vinyl.
After out-growing Stinchcomb's house in a matter of months, the original business operated out of two small shops on west Pearl Street before moving in 1996 to a prominent storefront at 1015 Pearl St. The two-story shop is now occupied by Mighty Fudge Studios Inc. upstairs, and an Ozo's Coffee Co. shop is planned for the entry level.
“The Pearl Street store was a great store, but it got to be so stressful,” Stinchcomb said.
Since stepping away from Bart's in 2006, Stinchcomb has been selling his collections online and at flea markets. Stinchcomb said he'll continue vending on the Internet but stop working the flea markets now that his new shop is open.
And even though Stinchcomb's original modest beginnings grew into a larger Pearl Street staple, he said, that isn't the plan with the new shop.
“The idea is to do this,” he said Monday, motioning to the small shop, which is advertised with a large CD-shaped sign. On one of the shop's French doors, a green piece of paper reads “Open.”
“It feels really neat to get back to basics,” he said.
Stinchcomb said he doesn't plan to have any employees — just help from his wife and kids, Scarlet, 13, and Robbie, 15. Greg Mudd, who worked at Bart's when it was on Pearl Street, will be using the new shop to sell some of the photos he's taken over the years of bands around Boulder County — like the Eagles in Lyons and Darrell Scott.
“It's going to be a lot of fun to do this all over again,” Mudd said.
After a series of music stores closed in the past decade, Bart's Music Shack will join only a handful of locally owned record shops that remain in town. Albums on the Hill, the Beat Book Shop, and Absolute Vinyl and Little Horse Books all sell vinyls and CDs.
Doug Gaddy, who owns Absolute Vinyl and its collection of more than 35,000 records, said his store is doing well and he's glad to see Bart back in the business. He said he believes vinyl shops like his and Bart's are making a comeback because they're about more than the music.
“You can download anything, but when you go fishing, you want to fish,” he said. “You want to go out and look and have that hunter-and-gatherer experience.”
Gaddy said Stinchcomb had a great store for years, and the community responded by visiting him often.
“It was a community gathering place where people went with a shared enthusiasm about music,” he said.
The social aspect and experience of browsing through records is what Mike Ewing said he misses most about the CD Cellar and what has him excited for the new Music Shack.
“I like to do it the old-school way and poke around,” said Ewing, 44, who works in downtown Boulder.
He said he plans to visit Bart's new digs and has high hopes for it to grow into an oasis of vinyl selection like it once was.
“Any time I wanted to find something, even the most bizarre stuff, you could go down there and find it,” he said. “It was the only place in town you could go for a decent music selection.”