Chicago's Famed Jazz Record Mart On Its Last Groove

Courtesy Jazz Record Mart

Courtesy Jazz Record Mart

Famed music and record store Jazz Record Mart is closing its doors. The music store is billed as “The World’s Largest Jazz and Blues Record Store.” The store contains "Tens of Thousands of New and Used LPs, CDs, 45s, 78s, Cassettes, DVDs, Books, Magazines, Posters, Postcards, and more." . The Chicago Tribune first reported Koester was putting the business up for sale on January 29th, 2016 and attributed the sale to the areas rising cost of rent.  Koester has spoken publicly that he has received several offers on the store's inventory.  The Chicago Tribune is now reporting a deal has supposedly been struck and will be closed on Monday, February 15th with the store closing soon after that.

83-year old Koester originally acquired the store in 1959 after moving to Chicago from St. Louis. The store has operated out of several locations. Its final location was in River North at 27 E. Illinois St. and had been there since 2006. 

Koester also owns and operates jazz and blues record label Delmark Records. Founded in 1953, the label is the oldest independent jazz and blues record label in the United States. He has been credited as one of the most recognized documentarians of Chicago's jazz and blues artists. Koester was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in the 1990s. A series titled 'Blues & Beyond' can be found on YouTube and contains an extensive interview with Koester.

Update: As of Monday, February 15th 2016 the Chicago Tribune is reporting that Jazz Record Mart has officially closed its doors. The store closed 10 mins after the deal was finalized at around 11:30AM. The doors had opened for business at 10:00AM. The store's inventory was reportedly acquired by Wolfgang Vault, which describes itself as "the world's largest fully curated archive dedicated to all things related to live concerts." The collection will be shipped to Nevada where the company is located. In the deal, Jazz Record Mart's name and website are included. Longtime customers and collectors seeking one last trip down memory lane reportedly flocked the store most of the closing weekend.

DNAinfo Chicago is reporting that local business owner Phillip Tadros of Bow Truss Coffee Roasters is supposedly interested in repurposing the space as a "vinyl bazaar." Tadros currently holds 30,000 sq ft in the top floors of the building for co-working space Doejo.

Patrick 'Pwelbs' Welby

Chicago, IL

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