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'Insane' Rent in Logan Square Pushes Record Store to Avondale

By Paul Biasco | August 11, 2015 8:16am

AVONDALE — Logan Square's Bucket O' Blood Books and Records closed up shop at its original Milwaukee Avenue location last week after the owners were unable to find affordable rents in the neighborhood.

The shop has moved into an expanded space in Avondale near Kuma's Corner and the Beer Temple.

Although the owners say they were hoping to stay in Logan Square, the new location leaves them in good company, as that strip attracts the same kind of customers Bucket O' Blood is known for — fans of metal, blood and sci-fi.

Kuma's, the famed metal burger bar, ran a burger of the month fundraiser in July to help Bucket O' Blood move into its new shop, 3182 N. Elston Ave.

The specialty books and record shop had operated the original location at 2307 N. Milwaukee Ave. for five years and had hoped to relocate within the neighborhood.

Paul Biasco says rents in Logan Square might force others to move:

Husband and wife co-owners Grant and Jennifer McKee said they looked hard for a space along Milwaukee in Logan Square, but prices were through the roof.

"The properties on Milwaukee Avenue are just insane," Jennifer McKee said.

The co-owners ended up signing a lease in nearby Avondale and have hopes of expanding their business in the much larger space.

"It was a little tough but honestly that's what was so important for us, staying close in the neighborhood," Grant McKee said. "We definitely wanted to stay in Logan Square or very close to it."

The McKees ran a crowdfunding campaign titled "Help Keep Bucket O Blood in Logan Square!" in June.

Jennifer and Grant McKee, co-owners of Bucket O' Blood. [DNAinfo/Paul Biasco]

They were under a time crunch as their lease on Milwaukee was up in July.

The original location along a popular stretch of Milwaukee Avenue was cramped, deteriorating and included gradual rent increases, according to the owners.

There was no heater and no air conditioning. The shop also faced issues with leaks.

"This will be our first winter with a heater," Jennifer McKee said. "I'm very excited."

The new Bucket O' Blood is four times the size of the original location. [DNAinfo/Paul Biasco]

The IndieGoGo campaign raised $4,744 from 119 funders to help pay for the move.

The new location is four times the size and will allow Bucket O' Blood to host more live events such as author readings and music performances.

Bucket O' Blood specializes in science fiction, fantasy and horror books and punk, metal, indie and new wave records.

The first event at the new shop, 3182 N. Elston Ave., is scheduled for Monday. Mike Hunchback will present his latest book, "Pulp Macabre: The Art of Lee Brown Coye's Final and Darkest Era."

The new shop's book display area is one-and-a-half times the size of the old shop and the vinyl selection will eventually be twice the size once the owners fully settle in.

"We definitely want to thank the people who helped us get out of what was ultimately a very small and not very well maintained space," Grant McKee said.

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