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Look Inside Reckless Records' Sunnier, Less Claustrophobic Mega Shop

By Alisa Hauser | April 17, 2015 9:18am

WICKER PARK — Just in time for Saturday's Record Store Day holiday, the new massive Wicker Park Reckless Records has debuted in a former dollar store, and both workers and customers seem pleased with the new digs.

"I love it, it's wonderful and not as claustrophobic as the old space," said shopper Joe Donegan referring to the store's former location at 1532 N. Milwaukee Ave.

At the new shop at 1379 N. Milwaukee Ave. on Thursday, Donegan, a suburban South Holland resident, bought an album by indie folk singer/songwriter Angel Olson, whose voice he described as "haunting and beautiful, really good stuff."

The 25-year-old IT worker also said he likes the store's more spacious layout.

"There [in the old spot], I felt like I had to really get in and get out, poke around fast. Here, maybe because it's bigger, you feel less rushed," Donegan said.

Alisa Hauser says the new location offers several benefits:

Shoppers in the new Reckless Records/photos by DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

The three-story vintage building, which Reckless Records' London-based founder Charles Taylor bought last January, is currently using the first floor for retail customers, though will eventually open up the basement for bargain bins offering cheaper records, staffers said.

The third floor is reserved for offices for the store's employees, who are "excited to have a break room and more space," said Dan Maloney, a seven-year employee of the shop.

The new store features tall, painted tin ceilings, exposed silver piping and is full of sunlight, unlike the old spot which was often darkened by a lower ceiling and light-blocking concert posters tacked to the windows.

"I like the wood floors. It's nice to not be working with 20 years of dust. It has a sunny vibe," Maloney said. 

For folks hoping to sell records or tapes or CDs, a buy-back area is at the front of the new store. For now, two listening booths where customers can hear selected titles are stationed on the front sales counter.

Employee Melissa Grubbs, who said she's as worked for "a long time" for Reckless Records (which also has smaller outposts in Lakeview and The Loop), assured folks that the old store's vintage photo booth would also eventually be brought to the new shop.

Reckless' expansion follows the opening of Shuga Records, which opened in February just one block south at 1272 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Nationwide annual vinyl record sales have increased 260 percent since 2009, according to the research firm Nielsen.

Closed for now, the former store, which has a lease ending in June, could possibly open up to do a garage sale-style sale, but no details are firmed up on that yet, Maloney said.

To celebrate its first Record Store day in its new store, Reckless Records has teamed up with Revolution Brewing to create a new beer, called "Hand Over Fist." Any customer who buys $50 worth of goods from Reckless on Saturday and shows their receipt at Emporium Arcade, 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave., will get free game tokens, Revolution swag and beer samples, according to the store's blog.

Reckless Records, 1379 N. Milwaukee Ave.  Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Ph: 773-235-3727.  Follow Reckless on Twitter for updates at @RecklessRecords.

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