Bart’s: A Brief History

The Boulder stalwart, Bart’s Records, has grown through the vagaries of the music formats and his its locations trace the history of Boulder itself.  In 1991, Bart Stinchcomb was done with dry cleaning and ready to dedicate more time to his passion: music.  He started working in music at an establishment called “Trade-a-Tape” up on The Hill.  He then started selling tapes and CD’s out of his home on the weekends before opening up his first storefront near where Lolita’s is today on West Pearl.  “Store front” is a loose term for the first address; it was actually an old shower stall inside “Rob’s Hot Tubs”, an hourly hot tub rental business:  the place in Boulder the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Bart Stinchcomb

RecordStore Owner Bart Stinchcomb works at Bart’s Music Shack in Boulder on Tues., April 12, 2011. Cameron Redwine / The Camera

He did business selling CD’s and vinyl out of an old changing room with a shower head still intact.  He doubts it was zoned for business but things were a bit looser then.  Bart sold six thousand of his own record collection for $80,000 to finance the store in 1993.  He then bounced around to different locations near Lolita’s and Nick and Willy’s before ending up on Pearl Street from ’96-2006 where the current Ozo coffeehouse is.  This is the location that most of us can remember.  CD’s hit the scene in ’82 but tapes started phasing out in the mid 90’s.  And where was vinyl?

In the early 80’s it was almost exclusively vinyl sales, but CD sales came on the scene fast.  By the late 80’s people would dump two crates of vinyl to buy 10 CD’s.  In those days you could spend $1 for Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors and today it would cost between $15-$20.  There just weren’t many pressings and vinyl’s future was looking bleak.  Tom Petty’s Wallflower came out in those years; it’s a valuable collectible now because new vinyl was so rare in those years.  But by the late 90’s the rave and techno scene was kicking in and Bart’s started selling tons of 12”.

Times were hard again for the brick and mortar music stores in the mid 2000’s.  Bart’s moved to the Borg real estate location on far west Pearl until the flood of 2013.  Then finally over to its current location on Folsom across from McGuckins Hardware, where it is thriving.  Why is there such a resurgence in vinyl?  Actually, the aficionado would say, “vinyl never left.” Come check us out.  1625 Folsom.

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