LINCOLN PARK — For the 10th annual Record Store Day on Saturday, why not go to the only true record store left standing in Lincoln Park proper?
In keeping with his store's motto of "all vinyl, all the time," Dave Crain, owner of Dave's Records, 2604 N. Clark St., said Thursday that "every day is Record Store Day."
But there's no denying that for the 10th annual Record Store Day — created to shine some glory on small, independent merchants — he'll be pulling out all the stops.
The first 50 people through the door Saturday will get a full-size cupcake from Molly's Cupcakes down the street. Stragglers will get mini cupcakes and candy.
But everyone will get a shot at the top Record Store Day releases, divided into three categories including one-day exclusives, limited runs with a local focus and "firsts" being released Saturday.
Crain said he figures to have almost everything being offered, if "not all of them in huge quantities." He planned to release a list of what he'll have on hand Friday on the store's Facebook and Instagram pages as well as on Twitter.
He knows already from past experience there'll be a line at the door in the morning ahead of the opening.
"We're shooting for 9," he said. "No later than 10.
"We may be open earlier than 9 if we're ready to go," he added.
The line will be ushered through the door and up to the counter. Customers should have a wish list ready, Crain said, and "I'll pull one of everything they want."
But it's one to a customer until 2 p.m., no exceptions.
"If you want a second thing, you've got to bring a friend with you," Crain added. And no sob stories about how your brother couldn't make it or your sister's getting married.
There'll also be a bunch of memorabilia marking the completion of the first decade of Record Store Day, such as 10th anniversary bags and other swag like posters.
There's a league of record stores that's celebrated on the annual day devoted to them, and Crain quickly insisted he wasn't the only Lincoln Park store still open, citing Reckless Records, Gramaphone Records and Groovin High, but those are all technically across the generally acknowledged Diversey Parkway border in Lakeview.
Records are booming with the vinyl revival, and Dave's Records has benefited.
Crain has seen it all. He's been working at the store since 1985 when it was Second Hand Tunes. After a chain tried to unify a bunch of record stores in the early 2000s and went belly up, Crain bought the store in 2002 and has enjoyed the rising interest in records ever since.
"It's been going on a lot longer than people think," Crain said. "It really started in the early '90s," when record sales bottomed out against compact discs and began to rise again, even if that wasn't showing up in sales figures supplied by major chains. But it's accelerated in recent years.
"Nowadays, it's the younger generation that's the big push in the mix," he added. He recalled how in the '90s young music fans would come in, find out it's records only, no CDs, and turn right around.
"Now it's, 'It's only records, that's so cool!'"
And make no mistake, it is only records. As the Dave's Records website boasts: "The sign on the door says it all — NO CDs!! Never had 'em!! Never will!!"
"We've been cool forever," Crain said, "but people haven't known it."