Bart Stinchcomb

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.

The proud new owner and daughter

New Ownership

holiday-wrappingIn February of 2016, Bart Stinchcomb turned the keys over to new owner, Will Paradise, after twenty-five years in the CD and vinyl business.  Will had been one of Bart’s best customers since 2008, when he finally unpacked his vinyl in storage.  Will and Bart had been doing some business collaboration for about six months prior to the sale of the store.  When Bart’s dream horse property became available in his native Maryland, he and his wife jumped at the chance for a new chapter of life.  The catalyst for the move was the dream farm.

When Bart approached Will to buy the store, Will had just retired from twenty-five years with Whole Foods Market.  He wasn’t sure he was done settling in to retirement.  But Will told Bart that he would help him out while Bart was in Maryland and still waiting for a buyer.  After Will’s first day on the job, working for credit on used vinyl, he knew he was going to buy it.

Will Paradise started work with Whole Foods Market stocking the bulk bins and “selling great food to nice people.”  As the company grew, Will moved up in responsibility and learned how to retail from the best in the country.  He now brings this knowhow to Bart’s, building on one of Boulder’s most beloved businesses.

In the first month of work, Will drove out and met with folks who wanted to sell their collections.  Some were selling collections for those who have passed, others were moving to smaller homes.  All of them had a story to tell.  Meeting collectors and perusing collections has become one of Will’s favorite parts of the job.  “Music people are like book people: interesting.”  Will is usually in the shop on Saturdays and Tuesdays and he loves to talk music.  If he’s not in the store, he is buying collections, ordering new vinyl or playing with his kids.

Have you noticed the changes?  Record collectors tend to have a nostalgia for the good old days, and we will keep the best of Bart’s and add to the tried and true.  New listening stations in the back are almost complete.  Our Facebook, Instagram and website presence is getting a makeover.  Soon we will add online sales for our rare, high value collectibles.  For the holidays, we are offering more new turntables, headphones and audiophile gifts.  Let us know how you like us now…