Get To Know Your Local Independent Retailer Vol. 18 – Lakeshore Record Exchange

Rochester, NY. AKA The Flour City. AKA home of the Eastman Theater (yea. That Eastman) and The Rochester International Jazz Festival. AKA also home of one of the raddest stores in the area, Lakeshore Record Exchage. Sounds like these guys got the jump on the dotcom boom when they snatched up the URL. Unfortunately I didn’t have the heart to tell owner Andrew Chinnici that Mondo Kim’s closed years ago. But he should totally check out Kim’s On First next time he’s in our neck of the woods!

1. Tell us briefly about your store.
Lakeshore Record Exchange has specialized in alternative music since 1988. Focusing on imports and independent labels on vinyl, CD and DVD as well as posters t-shirts, books and magazines, We’ve expanded into  jazz over the last 10 years and sell both new and used, vinyl CD and DVDs. We’ve been doing mail order since we first began and jump into online sale back in the early 90s with our full ecommerce site at

2. What got you into the independent record store business ?
I had worked for Transworld Music for 3 years while in college and was a customer of Lakeshore Record Exchange for 3 or 4 years when the original owner abruptly decided to sell the store and move to Texas. I didn’t have plans to own my own store but when the opportunity fell in my lap, I pick it up and ran with it.

3. Who are some of your favorite contemporary stores?
Record Stores? Amoeba, Mondo Kim’s, Other Music, Newbury Comics.

4. How have things been going from a business perspective?
It’s usually pretty steady because we have a lot of records and rare CDs listed on multiple online retailers, so there’s never a dull moment in terms of online sales. The vinyl boom has been great for business because it’s caused a large expansion of our customer base and brought in steady stream of customers looking to sell us their vinyl, CD and DVD collections.

5. What do you think spells the survival for an independent record store today?
Continually taking advantage of the numerous online marketplaces for selling music as well as keeping a close close tabs on the lightning fast changes of the new  upcoming bands and genre trends that don’t seem to pause for a moment.

6. Why do we need record stores?
We still find that most of our regular customers come to us because they are looking for the personal recommendations and to be kept informed on whats the new big thing at the moment.     Preserving the tactile pleasure of searching through racks for that album that is going to be one (or many) that you were looking for.
7. What kind of taco is your favorite?
Black bean with salsa fresca, guacamole, & jalepenos.

8. Who are your top 3 favorite bands right now?
The Horrors, Thee Oh Sees, and Trust

9. What is your favorite thing about your store? And you can’t say the customers. That’s like saying Einstein or Ghandi when asked “If you could meet one person, living or dead…”
Doing business in our own unique way to super serve our customers, our product mix and merchandising system for our CDs.

10. What are your goals for the future of your store? Long term and short.
To not just stay afloat but grow our over the counter and online sales. Broaden our product mix even more.