We had the good fortune of connecting with Jake Sullivan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jake, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When we first decided to open the store, we didn’t have any long term goals or even a real sense of how to run a business. We just had a passion for music and record collecting, and realized there was a little bit of a void for people like us in the 4th Avenue & University area. A long standing favorite store of ours and a staple to the downtown music scene had just closed down, and we thought the neighborhood deserved a cool record store. Beyond that, we just happened to find a room for rent at a price we could afford and decided it’d be a fun adventure for as long as we could keep it going. We kind of just let our passion and excitement lead us! We learned as we went and made it work.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What our store prides itself on is our connection to the community. We’ve hosted all ages shows since we first opened, and have tried to be the go-to spot for local bands and artists to make their music available. Beyond that, we try to cater the store to the music and art that we are passionate about; we may not have every title, but the titles we do have we can talk passionately and honestly about. It certainly wasn’t easy developing our business to this point. It has always been fun, but for the first 2-3 years both of us were working part-time or full-time jobs to help make ends meet. We were both willing to do this because we believed in the idea of our shop and wanted to see where we could take it if we gave it time to grow. Throughout the process, we were able to realize that the way we felt about the store – doing it for fun and because we honestly just enjoyed the music we were bringing to our customers – translated into the experience folks had when they came to visit. We try to always keep this idea in mind as the store continues to grow… if we are having fun and still excited about what we’re doing, we’re on a pretty good path.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Every so often a good friend visits from France, and we usually have the same routine (it never gets old). We start with a beer at one of our favorite breweries – Dragoon or Crooked Tooth are always at the top of the list. Then we like to get outdoors for a bit, and Gate’s Pass or Sabino Canyon make for a nice hike while not being too taxing! When it’s time for dinner, south Tucson has an abundance of great choices – Crossroads or Guillermo’s are two favorites. Then, it’s about time for a nightcap, and there’s no finer place for that then Che’s Lounge!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Our business wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Cafe Passe. That’s where Kellen (my business partner) and I first met, and it was also inside of Cafe Passe that we first opened our store. It was at this location that we got to establish our connection to the community and host tons of fun shows! Cafe Passe is still there, and is just as cool as ever. Our friends over at Che’s Lounge have also been helping us since day one. They hired us for a weekly DJ gig almost as soon as we opened our store, and that tradition has stood since then! We also should mention the record stores that got us into collecting music in the first place and that we grew up going to: Toxic Ranch Records, Eastside Records (PHX), Zia Records, and Twist & Shout Records were all instrumental.
First photo (inside the record store with masks) by Ed Arnaud. Other two photos courtesy of Wooden Tooth Records.