When Paradise Found Records & Music opens on April 1 at the corner of 17th and Pearl, it’ll be a homecoming of sorts.
Pearl Street — albeit the West End — was where Bart’s Records started in the early ’90s; it’s the street where Bart’s bounced around for several years before finding its most iconic home where Ozo’s downtown store is today. All of that is to say: there would be no Paradise Found without Bart’s.
“Not only is Bart a friend of ours, but he’s an inspiration,” says Paradise Found owner Will Paradise, who bought Bart’s Records from Bart Stinchcomb in 2016. After running the store for five years under the original moniker at cramped digs on Folsom Street, Paradise is taking the little record store that could back to Pearl for more spacious accommodations and a gentle makeover.
“It’s a new day in a new location and I’m going to change the name, but the Bart’s sign is going to be hanging at the desk [at the new store],” Paradise says from the new space on Pearl, where a dozen or so empty racks wait for the thousands of records to be moved from the old location. “We’ll be selling Bart’s T-shirts and hoodies and hats. We realize that any success that we have, it’s because of all the work and the foundation that was laid by Bart himself and all the great people that have worked there over the years.”
Both Paradise and one of his vinyl buyers, Patrick Selvage, gravitated toward Bart’s Records about 20 years ago, while Paradise was working in senior management for Whole Foods and Selvage was just a freshman at CU Boulder.
“I had a record label back then and my band (Tin Tin) played in-store [shows at Bart’s],” Selvage says. “Being at a show in your favorite shop and being able to talk to like-minded people about music, that’s what we want to carry on from Bart’s.”
And with ample space in the new store, Paradise Records will feature a small stage and “top-notch” sound system for in-store shows and open mic nights, once health regulations allow. Paradise plans to roll out ultrasonic record cleaning services and flattening for warped records. There’ll be more team members, Paradise says, for better customer service and, best of all, room to display 40% more records.
Vinyl is the heart of Paradise Found, and Paradise doesn’t really see that changing.
“There are cycles for everything,” he says. “Things come and then they go and then there’s this resurgence. I don’t really want to think about a world where people don’t value vinyl, you know, but [the record industry] sold people CDs, which were this ‘indestructible’ form of media, and so expensive. It’s so interesting to see how people just bought that whole thing, hook, line and sinker.
“But I think there’s an awareness around vinyl and an appreciation for it — I don’t see that going away,” Paradise adds. “Now, is it going to continue to just grow and grow and grow? No. There’ll be something else that will come at some point in time, but I think there’ll always be … people who get [vinyl]. You know, there are people who like music and people who don’t. There are people who like dogs and people who don’t. People who like kids and people who don’t. I don’t trust the people that don’t like any of those things, myself. But vinyl, I think there’s this desire and appreciation for it, for the sound quality, the artwork, the smell.”
“For a hundred years it’s outlasted all of these other iterations,” Selvage adds. “I don’t see it going anywhere.”