WICKER PARK — A coffee and record shop hybrid named Purple Llama Coffee & Records will become Wicker Park's sixth record store — adding another option to a growing "Vinyl District" that's become a destination for music lovers.
"Our business and service plan is to grab coffee, browse record shelves and interact socially. It's not for parking and staring at a computer," owner Joel Petrick said.
The 25-seat cafe at 2140 W. Division St. will serve Counter Culture Coffee and beans from guest roasters, tea from Song Teas, pastries and bread from Lincoln Park-based Floriole, as well as a "highly curated selection of records," Petrick said.
If everything goes as planned, Petrick, a corporate America ex-pat, avid record collector and Wicker Park resident, said Purple Lllama Coffee & Records will open in early February.
"We're excited to serve a little slice of Wicker Park that needs great specialty coffee and to be part of this community on the business side because we love it here," said 33-year-old Petrick, who lives nearby with his wife, Shannon, who will assist him with running the shop, along with their friend Kevin Lardner, who is focusing on the cafe side of the venture.
For those who might be imagining themselves combing through bins of used records while sipping coffee, Petrick wants to emphasize that the store will be selling only new releases and reissued albums.
Just 40 or 50 new albums will be displayed at one time, reflecting an emphasis on indie, folk and ambient psychedelic rock from labels Drag City, Thrill Jockey, Matador, Secretly Canadian and more. Petrick said reissued funk albums from the Numero Group label will also be sold.
The shop's name comes from the color purple's association with rock and roll artists such as David Bowie, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and the llama comes straight out of the Neil Young song, "Ride My llama," Petrick said.
Petrick said the location for the store and cafe was selected because it's "a little off the thoroughfare on Division" and west of Damen in "an untapped little spot" close to Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village.
Prior to becoming small business owner, Petrick sold furniture to schools and Shannon Petrick worked in the insurance industry.
"The record store has been done and done good in Chicago. ... The idea was simmering in our heads. We are passionate about both records and coffee," he said.
Once open, Purple Llama Coffee & Records will join the expanded Reckless Records at 1379 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the former Dollar Buster; Shuga Records at 1272 N. Milwaukee Ave, which also grew recently and added a cassettes wall; Dusty Groove at 1120 N. Ashland Ave.; Permanent Records, 1914 W. Chicago Ave. in Ukrainian Village; and KStarke Records, 1109 N. Western Ave.
According to Nielsen's year-end report on the music business, sales of vinyl records hit 13.1 million units in 2016, the eleventh straight year of growth. Independent record stores were responsible for 15.9 percent of all music sales (vinyl, cassettes, CDs), according to Nielsen.
Purple Llama Coffee & Records' hours will be 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. For updates, visit its Facebook page.
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