Eclipse Records re-opened its doors for a third time in September, this time in downtown St. Paul. According to owner Joe Furth, Saint Paul’s Director of Arts and Culture Joe Spencer handpicked three businesses to use vacant space in downtown Saint Paul. Eclipse Records was chosen, along with the Amsterdam Bar and Hall and Big Table Studio. The idea was to bring arts and culture to St. Paul with businesses he liked.
Article originally published in The Oracle, republished by permission.
According to Furth, Spencer has always been a supporter of Eclipse, even helping getting Eclipse’s former University Avenue location up and going in 2008.
“That’s his neighborhood,” Furth said. “So he’s always been a fan of the store.”
Eclipse was forced to vacate the University Avenue location in 2010 due to a
disagreement with the landlord, a move that Furth said was better in the long run.
“In hindsight, it worked out perfectly because of the [Central Corridor] construction,” Furth said. “I don’t think we would have been able to survive.”
Eclipse Records’ manager, Martin Devaney, also spoke positively of the move, saying that the move brings Eclipse more foot traffic and will be closer to students, similar to their original location on Grand Avenue.
“The Grand Avenue store had Macalester, and we are near McNally Smith and the arts high school,” Devaney said. “Young people need a music source and the response from them so far has been great.”
Soon after Eclipse Records closed its University Avenue location, they began working on plans for relocation. The plan for the three-business project has been in the works for a year. Eclipse plans on having small, in-store performances and hopes these will complement shows held by the Amsterdam, which plans to have live music every night.
With less focus on shows than in its previous location, Eclipse Record is concentrating on their strictly vinyl, no CDs, business model, something Furth said he is not worried about regardless of the current economic situation.
“We’ll never sell CDs,” Furth said. “It’s spreading ourselves too thin … in these times,
it’s tough to be in retail in general.”
Devaney embraced Eclipse’s business model, saying that Eclipse’s goal is to be a great source for new and used vinyl, especially now that vinyl is making a comeback.
“We’re vinyl enthusiasts and since it’s been on the rise, we would like to be known for being the only indie store in St. Paul.”
Overall, Furth said he felt optimistic about the new store, stating that so far it has been above his expectations.
“Eclipse has a fan base that has followed me from store to store, so regulars will be
back,” Furth said.