Photo by Leor Galil
Chicago's musicians and venues were among the first affected by measures against the spread of COVID-19, but even before Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a shelter-in-place order on Friday, March 20, record stores had also started feeling the pain. Social-distancing practices caused an economic slowdown so quickly that on March 13, Record Store Day organizers postponed this year's RSD, scheduled for Saturday, April 18 (it's tentatively moved to June 20). The following day, 606 Records in Pilsen closed early for the day, posting on Instagram that the normally busy 18th Street strip was so quiet you could "hear the spray paint."
Since the shelter-in-place order, important dance-music hub Gramaphone Records has launched a GoFundMe to help it weather the COVID-19 closure; it's also continued to sell records through Discogs and its own website. Many local shops have taken similar routes, since the U.S. Postal Service continues to function, and for those who'd rather not rely on USPS, a few shops are offering work-arounds such as curbside pickup. Last week Tone Deaf Records owner Tony Assimos offered free delivery to customers close enough to his Portage Park shop for him to reach by car.
Assimos's committment to his shop speaks to the bonds of community among people who cherish Chicago's great network of independent record stores. For the moment, we're deprived of the pleasure of walking into one of those shops and stumbling upon an unfamiliar record that becomes our next new love. But we can take steps to ensure that these shops are still around when those days return. Below is an alphabetized list of Chicago record stores still selling music, along with alternative ways to support these businesses and their staff. We'll continue to update this list throughout the pandemic.
Beverly Records Order through the store's website or by phone (773-779-0066); curbside pickup available from 10 AM to 1 PM
Bob's Blues & Jazz Mart Closed
Dave's Records Order via the store's Discogs page
Dorian's Specialty vinyl packages can be ordered for pickup through Tock
Dusty Groove Order through Dusty Groove's website
Hyde Park Records Closed
Interstellar Space Check the store's Instagram for updates and announcements
Laurie's Planet of Sound Selling gift cards (redeemable when the shop reopens) and accepting donations to support its staff, both via Paypal
No Requests Order through Feeltrip's website
No Trend Records Order through Discogs
The Old School Records Call 708-366-7588 for information
Purple Llama Coffee & Records Order through the store's website
Rattleback Records Order through the store's website
Reckless Records Order through the store's website; contactless curbside pickup available at Belmont and Wicker Park locations from 10 AM till 6 PM daily
Record Breakers Order through the store's website (call 773-698-8387 between 12 and 4 PM with questions); free pickup available
Rolling Stones Closed
Shady Rest Vintage & Vinyl Order through Discogs
Shuga Records Order through the store's website; free pickup available Monday-Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM; free shipping on orders above $49.99; 20 percent off everything till April 7 with the code "thankyou"
Squeezebox Books & Music Order by phone (847-943-9309) or via Square site; free curbside pickup or $4 shipping available
Tone Deaf Records Order through the store's website; free delivery available depending on location
Vintage Vinyl Order through the store's website