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This article was published 14/5/2019 (383 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Blaine McVety takes a sort of masochistic pride in listing, in his words, "all the record stores I've buried."
There was HMV, A & A Records, A & B Sound, Record Baron, Records on Wheels, Music City, and Sam the Record Man, to name some of the bigger players that have closed. Famous local record stores like Opus 69 and Mother's Records closed before he started in 1982, he said.
Now Blaine's, a record store for 37 years that added books and DVDs along the way, is calling it quits, too. McVety's eclectic entertainment store is closing June 30. All stock is 15 per cent off.
"When I started, there were fewer things for people to spend their money on. For young people, you spent your money on your stereo, records, and maybe your car, and that was it," said McVety, 65.
Those were the heydays for record sellers like him. There's a lot more competition for the dollar today and he's been "grinding it out" in recent years, he said.
But owning a record store was all he ever wanted to do. "I loved music and wanted to own a record store. I literally wanted to be the guy in the record store," he said.
He originally worked at Western Sound in the City of Selkirk. It was a music electronics store but had a small record section. When it closed, he saw an opportunity to open his own record store there.
"It was just me, a bunch of records and some eight tracks. It was a 600-square-foot shop. It was tiny but easy to keep an eye on."
He eventually got bigger in Selkirk Town Plaza, the mall in the City of Selkirk north of Winnipeg. He operated in Selkirk for 32 years, commuting from home in Winnipeg, before he moved to McIvor Mall, on the north end of Henderson Highway, five years ago.
He's had to change frequently over the years to survive. He sold electronics for 15 years until 2002 when big box stores chased him out. That's when he brought in books. But he has always sold music.
If you grew up in the 1960s and 70s, you're guaranteed to find something here to your liking either on vinyl or CD. He has an eclectic selection including rarer Beatles and Rolling Stones, Chubby Checker, the Royal Guardsmen ( hit song "Snoopy and the Red Baron"), the Rockin' Rebels, the Sir Douglas Quintet and Chuck Berry.
There is also Frank Zappa, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, and White Stripes, which are hard to get in Canada because of poor distribution, and a vinyl five-track album by Jethro Tull called North Sea Oil from 1979 (reissued).
He's a loyal Canuck with groups like Teenage Head, Tragically Hip and others on vinyl, and he also has country music on vinyl, which doesn't sell well but provides an "aha moment," as he puts it, for the right person.
"I just look to carry stuff that people have forgotten they like," McVety said. "It's listening to people and talking to them and getting a feel for what they want."
However, the store also reflects the taste of a 60s rocker like McVety. "There's nothing better than turning people onto something you like," he said. "I'm going to miss that."
It's also guaranteed McVety will greet customers with a big smile.
"He's got very rare CDs," said customer Nick Hewrylew, who said his very first purchase from Blaine's was a Dave Edmunds record.
In the DVD section are movies like Slapshot, Rebel Without a Cause, Jerry Lewis movies including Disorderly Orderly and Nutty Professor, the Lone Ranger, Abbott and Costello, and noir films.
McVety had 78 commenters and 168 "likes" on his Facebook page within three hours of announcing his closing.
"Noooooo cryin shame. One of my favourite record shops!" posted one fan.
"Waaaaaaaa noooooooo you are like, 30!?" posted another.
"NOT ALLOWED" one person wrote.
"This breaks my heart," said another.
One of the cool things he's seeing is young people coming into his shop and thrilled to find a Doors or Jimi Hendrix album on vinyl.
But McVety said the time to close was right with the mall lease coming up for renewal. McIvor Mall is undergoing major renovations with new flooring and a No Frills grocery opening in place of the Marketplace store that closed.
"I kind of feel I'll be missing out," McVety said, but then catches himself before he can talk himself out of his decision.
"There comes a time," he said, sounding like an album from the 60s or 70s by Neil Young or the Byrds.
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Updated on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 5:56 PM CDT: Adds photo