Stinkweeds

A local do-it-yourself empire expands

Music people rejoiced when Kimber Lanning, owner of Tempe's Stinkweeds record store, announced her plans to open a new Stinkweeds location in central Phoenix. The 800-square-foot space at 12 West Camelback, on the northwest corner at Central Avenue, is slated to open its doors on Saturday, September 18.

Call it an expansion of Lanning's mini-empire. She opened her first record store in 1987 in the East Valley, a new and used store selling indie releases, hard-to-find imports, and new music. It's done well over the years, moving twice, and has been located on Apache Boulevard near ASU since '96. Lanning is also responsible for one of the Valley's best live venues for up-and-coming bands, Modified Arts, which doubles as an art gallery.

Since Lanning purchased the new space in January, she's given it an extreme makeover with her own two hands. Of course, she had a lot of help from friends, replacing a rusted old swamp cooler with new A/C, removing walls and making new ones, and doing plenty of painting. The biggest challenge was digging out the old plumbing with pickaxes in lots of slime. "It was the filthiest I've ever been in my entire life -- standing in mud up to my waist, mud in my hair -- I thought skulls were going to start flowing out. It was hideous, but I did the whole job for $650," she says. Her estimate from a plumber had been almost $2,500.

Lanning wants the store to be the antidote to faceless retail chains, and she has a vision for more than just the merchandise. She seems happiest about the courtyard, which features a small concrete stage, seating, big plants and shade -- a place for local and touring acts to play, as well as a community meeting place. And she's even recruited Chelsea, a young local 'zine enthusiast, to set up a table for selling the DIY publications.

For the grand opening, there will be live music from 12:45 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For information, call Tempe Stinkweeds at 480-968-9490. Starting Saturday, the Phoenix Stinkweeds can be reached at 602-248-9461.

 
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