Now Open: Revolver Records in Tempe
The vinyl frontier awaits at Revolver Records in Tempe.
The record store gods giveth and they taketh away. Over the past six months or so, they've imparted another iteration of Eastside Records in Tempe, a mega-sized Zia Records on Camelback, as well as the equally quaint Record Room in Scottsdale, while claiming beloved East Valley shops like Rockzone and the beloved Hoodlums.
Their latest gift to the vinyl-loving masses debuted this past weekend when Revolver Records opened up a second location near McClintock Drive and Southern Avenue in Tempe.
When Up on the Sun asked owner T.J. Jordan about why he launched an East Valley counterpart to Revolver's downtown Phoenix location, his response was quick and to the point: "Too many records."
"I bought three or four massive collections right around November," he says. "And there ended up being a huge influx of records that there was no way they were gonna fit 'em all into the downtown store."
Other factors involved with the new store, he explains, include a longstanding desire to expand into Tempe and the departure late last year of former Revolver co-owner Steve Zimmerman, who partnered with Jordan to open the store's original location on Seventh Avenue in 2007 and its relocation to Roosevelt Row two years later.
"We had always wanted to do a Tempe store anyway, even after we moved from Seventh Avenue to downtown. It was in the process two years ago, but a deal fell through," Jordan says. "And that was a good thing because shortly after that fell through [Zimmerman] told me that he was moving to Delaware. So we put the Tempe thing on hold and dealt with him leaving."
Stacks of wax inside Revolver Records in Tempe.
He adds that the pair picked downtown Phoenix for the first two Revolvers because it was convenient.
"Steve lived way out west and I lived way south, so that was kind of a middle ground for both of us," Jordan says. "But once Steve told me he was moving, I was like, 'Okay, we can do the second store thing now.'"
Jordan says he picked the particular spot at the Southern and McClintock strip mall for Tempe's Revolver because it was next door to one of his regular coffee spots Xtreme Bean.
"And that's how we've chosen the locations for Revolver in the past. We picked the downtown spot because I used to go to Carly's all the time and we originally picked Seventh Avenue because I used to go to Copper Star Coffee," he says. "So I would go to Xtreme Bean, have coffee, look across, and was like, 'There's an open space there. Let's give it a shot.'"
Having a spot in the East Valley also made it easier it easier for Jordan to bring in former Hoodlums employee Andy Othick, who lives in Tempe and lost his longtime position at the now-defunct record emporium when it closed last year, to help run the new location.
"He just happened to fit in perfect with us, so that was just perfect timing," Jordan says. "So I had the people, I had the product, and I had the location, so we did it."
Revolver Records in Tempe during its grand opening.
While Jordan says that either Revolver location houses roughly the same amount of records (which he estimates is in excess of 25,000 platters, the Tempe version is slightly smaller than its sister location in Phoenix, but has a "completely different feel" according to Jordan.
"Downtown [Phoenix] has the grungy, big-city record store vibe that it should have. And I wanted Tempe this to be a little more mellower because the downtown store has become kind of this monster that's constantly busy," he says. "This one sits off the street, the rent is a lot cheaper, and we have more collectible records here for the time being and a carry a little more gear, like more hi-fi equipment, turntables, receivers, and speakers."
Jordan adds that Tempe location's smaller size and mellower vibe means that it won't feature the sort of rock, punk, and metal shows that the Revolver in Phoenix has become known for, but may host occasional acoustic musician.
The grand opening of Revolver in Tempe this past Saturday was well attended, Jordan says, and resulted in plenty of business, including selling more than 100 rare and collectible records.
"The good thing for me is that [Revolver on] Roosevelt has allowed me to have a pretty big customer base and a lot of those people came over on Saturday so they already know where we are," Jordan says. "You can't see us from the street, which kind of sucks, but that's why the rent's cheap."
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