Learn how one store is changing the neighborhood for the better

Audio Archaeology outside

It sure is exciting to see Devon starting to perk up with a few new, locally owned, businesses recently!

The street has so much potential for being a vibrant area for everyone in Edgewater & Rogers Park. Just a few more storefronts to go. 🙂

We thought it would be fun to touch base with a few of our new friends & neighbors up there to learn more about their new businesses in the coming weeks. If you are a local store owner on Devon between Broadway & Clark, feel free to drop us a line.

Thanks for being our first new local business submission John & Nick. We’re thrilled to have you guys in the area!

Revinylize Your Holiday at Audio Archaeology

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When John Arnsdorff decided to open up a shop to support his lifelong hobby of restoring record players, he had no idea that his shop would help transform his neighborhood. After almost a year of building friendships, booming sales, in-store concerts, and even a music festival, he is nowhere near finished. Recently awarded “Best New Boutique or Shop” in Chicago by NewCity, John sends his thanks to all of his customers and friends for the support this year.  His shop, Audio Archaeology, at 1324 W Devon Ave, has also been recognized by Spotify, supplying their New York office with a record player console.

“Anytime a store opens, it’s usually for the good of the surrounding area,” John continued, “but I had no idea how much support I would get from the neighbors and businesses in Edgewater and Rogers Park. Many are happy that someone has breathed life into a long-vacant storefront.” Enthusiastic customers have been the biggest contributors to the store’s success and its events, like Fallapalooza, which brought together nearly 500 people, 20 local businesses, and 9 musicians to celebrate the vibrant neighborhood and raised $700 for The Howard Area Community Center. “Judging by the feedback, we might even extend it to two days and have on in the Spring of next year too,” John added.

At first glance, the store may seem like a vintage furniture shop, but once inside, you see that all of the beautiful, mid-century pieces are record player consoles. Some have martini bars, some have fireplaces, some are small, compact, and perfect for apartments. Their website shows all of the HiFi consoles they have in store and is constantly updating with new items every week.  There is even a wall of components for vinyl enthusiasts who want to add a turntable to the sound system they already have. “I want the store to be approachable by everyone, whether you’re a Loyola student, a young professional, or retired, I have a record player and records that you’re going to fall in love with AND be able to afford.”

You can spend hours thumbing through all of the records and looking through all of the vintage or handmade accessories throughout. John works with record distributors all over the country and carries hundreds of new LP releases along with the thousands of used records. He even takes a lot of special orders, many arriving within a couple days. “I’m excited to bring out all of my Holiday records; Who doesn’t love hearing Charlie Brown’s Christmas?” John yelled as he carried crates of records out from storage in the back.

“Even before we opened, we knew that we were going to eventually carry a giant selection of vinyl,” John said, citing the vinyl sales of 6 million in 2013.  So, every week, John goes on interstate missions in search of interesting records and record players to refurbish for the store.  “I’ve been getting calls from and shipping to both coasts of the country and even Canada. There aren’t a lot of places for people to shop these kinds of unique items and, and now that we’re here, my biggest issue is keeping the store stocked.”

The store is preparing for the holiday shopping season by releasing a Gift Idea List. Filled with record players, new and used records, vintage furniture, home accessories, candles, jewelry, and art from local artisans, the list will feature gift ideas for men, women, and children in a range of different prices to help shoppers find unique items for everyone on their own list while also supporting local small businesses.

The shop is also a participant in Record Store Day Black Friday 2014 on November 28th, and, as such, is receiving exclusive LPs from world-renown artists that will be released that day and only available though independent record stores.  Shoppers are invited to have coffee and snacks and browse the new releases starting at 8 AM, after the madness at the big chain stores. Purchases over $25 are eligible for free gift-wrapping as well. “I’ll be here with coffee and wrapping paper,” John quipped.

Audio Archaeology is also very proud to participate in Small Business Saturday the next day, on November 29th. As a part of Edgewater Chamber of Commerce’s #shopedgewater event, customers will be offered a free pair of ear buds AND gift wrapping with a purchase of $25 or more. “The more small businesses that open in this area, and the more people realize how important they are to enriching the community, the less we will have to keep shopping at big chains,” said John.

The store is always filled with local artwork and wares, with Kat Seno being the store’s new featured artist.  Kat Seno is a Chicagoan whose pieces, ranging from $40 to $150, use found objects and images to create colorful and kitsch canvasses. Dottie Did It has also created a line of vinyl-inspired jewelry and hand-made soy candles in variety of colors and scents. “I find some of the record player consoles locally as well and restore them to their original greatness,”- John.

“More and more people are remembering how much they loved playing records, and the younger generation is discovering them for the first time.” John continued, “I’m having so much fun helping people find their favorite LP or teaching newbies how to use the record players.” It’s great to think that such a small store is having such a big impact on people in the neighborhood, around Chicago, and even across the country. John invites you to come say “Hi” and check out the store at 1324 W Devon Ave (at Wayne Ave) Wednesday through Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 12-5pm, and up until Christmas, on Tuesdays 12pm-6pm.

By Nick Kuttin, Edgewater resident who recently got his first-ever record player from Audio Archaeology. You can email him at Nick@KuttinCreative.com

John Arnsdorff, the owner of Audio Archaeology, is available for questions and comments through email at john@audioarchaeologychicago.com

You can visit the store’s website at www.AudioArchaeology.com,

On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AudioArchaeologyChicago

And on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VintageAudioChi

Info about the NewCity Best of Chicago award can be found at http://best.newcity.com/2014/10/30/best-new-boutique-or-shop-opened-in-the-last-year-or-so-5/

Info about Record Store Day can be found at http://www.recordstoreday.com/

Info about Fallapalooza can be found at http://www.audioarchaeology.com/#!fallapalooza/c1hor

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