Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Where vinyl's still groovy

Record-store dream becomes reality thanks to mammoth collection

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Cavin Borody began selling vinyl albums online in 2005 under the banner Motor City North Records, a venture so named because of the lifelong Motown fan's affection for acts like The Temptations and Martha Reeves.

For seven years everything was tickety-boo: Borody, 55, had customers from all over the world, his stock numbered in the tens of thousands and he was able to manage his Internet store around his "real" job -- working with people recovering from brain injuries.

Ever since Borody was a kid growing up on Munroe Avenue however, he'd fantasized about running his own, physical record shop -- one that harked back to the types he frequented in the late '60s and early '70s in downtown Winnipeg.

"As soon as my parents decided I was old enough to take the bus by myself, I'd catch the Grey-Louelda every Saturday," Borody says, reaching over to turn down Stevie Wonder's Superstition. "I'd start at Music City, skip over to Autumn Stone, head back up to Music Explosion and Mother's before finishing up at Opus (69). Sometimes I'd go home with a bunch (or records) -- other times zip -- but that was my day, pretty much."

Last February, Zellers announced four of its Winnipeg outlets would close. And that everything inside them -- right down to the fixtures on the walls -- was going to be up for grabs. Soon thereafter, Borody was in the Zellers location on Pembina Highway admiring some empty calendar racks. "These would be perfect for displaying albums," he thought to himself.

Borody ended up buying a whack of shelving for a song. But because his home was already bursting at the seams with records, there was nowhere to store the units properly. So after tumbling over a shelf on his way to the bathroom one evening, Borody decided it was time to reclaim his living space by fulfilling a decades-old dream.

 

***

 

The Winnipeg Record and Tape Co., located at 1079 Wellington Ave., officially opened for business on June 21. (Borody chose his new name because it was more to the point than the original moniker, he explains.)

There are a couple of things that immediately set Borody's 1,200-square-foot shop apart from competitors like Into the Music and Sound Exchange. First of all, a panoply of Borody's stock can be filed under "kitsch." Winnipeggers suffering from earworms like Captain & Tenille's Muskrat Love or Andy Kim's Rock Me Gently now have a cure for what ails 'em, thanks to multiple copies of each.

"I've been to record stores all over and everybody always seems to concentrate on the really collectible stuff or so-called 'quality music,' " Borody says, showing off a mint-condition copy of what he tabs his biggest online seller -- Andy Gibb's 1978 smash Shadow Dancing. (The cool kids need not tremble too much; tucked in among titles by the likes of The Carpenters, Partridge Family and -- "I am woman, hear me roar." -- Helen Reddy are long-plays by critics' darlings like Patti Smith and Love Tractor.)

Equally interesting is that all of Borody's stock -- save for a bargain bin in the rear of the store -- is factory-sealed. Has been for over 30 years, in some cases.

That's because for the last while, Borody has been busy scooping up as many shrink-wrapped LPs, cassettes and 8-tracks (he sells the latter to car enthusiasts who want their classic rides to be as authentic as possible) as he could muster from record distributors in Canada and the United States who were going out of business.

"I'd say that 98 per cent of what's here is original pressings. The only re-issues, I think, are in the funk and disco section."

***

One of the first things Borody did after painting his new digs was find wall space for his collection of record-store memorabilia, including shopping bags from places like Kelly's Stereo Mart and Top 40 charts from radio stations like KY-58.

Too bad Borody no longer has childhood recordings of himself pretending to be Casey Kasem, counting down the "biggest hits in the land" every Friday night in his bedroom.

He isn't expecting business to be gangbusters right off the hop. He'll still have an online presence for his out-of-town customers, he says, but what he's planning -- because of his job -- is to open three days a week for the first couple of months, running the store on his days and/or evenings off. Come September, Borody will reassess his business strategy and decide if he wants to expand his hours and hire staff.

"Before I decided to do this I sat down and figured out what my bottom line was, and if I could realistically make ends meet being open 15 days a month. And absolutely I can."

Besides vinyl hounds who have been hunting high and low for a mint condition copy of Telly Savalas's Who Loves Ya Baby, there is one other person who is thankful the Winnipeg Record and Tape Co. is up and running.

"My 84-year-old mother is relieved I finally got all my stuff out of the house," Borody says, turning the volume back up for Aretha Franklin, who, right now, is demanding a litte R-E-S-P-E-C-T. "The floors were starting to sag and she was convinced she was going to find me dead under a pile of records one day."

For more information on the Winnipeg Record and Tape Co.'s hours and selection, go to

http://stores.winnipegrecordandtape.com/Catalog.bok.

david.sanderson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 29, 2013 ??65535

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