by Juleana Enright
When owners Lisa and Jake Luck started Yeti Records in the fall of ’10, the intent was to be an all-used record shop catering to the local community that united indie music lovers, music makers, creatives and record diggers alike. With a slew of 50 cent sales, live in-store performances, musical story hours and Art Beer Records evenings featuring – you guessed it – local art, records and brewskies, one can definitely say they’ve lived up to their end of the bargain.
This summer, the Lucks decided to swap the brick and mortar and take their biz to the streets with a mobile records shop. They launched a fundraising campaign on indiegogo with contribution perks like a special Yeti Records edition of the local zine C.L.A.P., an LP set from MPLS Limited, a 7” record bundle featuring artists on the local radical record label Moon Glyph, a limited edition Yeti Records Art Print screen printed by shop co-owner Lisa Luck, and sweet international LPs courtesy Secret Stash Records. With financial help from loyal Yeti fans and local music supporters, Yeti met their goal and purchased a groovy 1975 Beach Craft, aka the new mobile Yeti Records truck.
With the shop packed up, inventory downsized and the records truck loaded up with vinyl gems, Yeti is ready to embrace their role as first record truck in the Twin Cities. I caught up with Jake Luck to chat about the record truck and the store’s new mobile lifestyle.
l’étoile: This summer, you and Lisa embarked on a fundraising project to take Yeti from store to a Records on Wheels venture. Obviously the goal was reached. Can you tell us about some of the fundraiser’s highlights?
Luck: The fundraiser went great. It far exceeded our expectations. When you start out on these kind of things, you just sort of figure that people would only be semi-interested. Turns out, people were totally into it and, whats more, were even willing to give us money to make it happen. Shocking. We even sold our sign.
l’étoile: Going mobile is definitely an ingenious business plan. Not only does it allow you to be in the heart of the action at all times – say at an outdoor festival, block party or even just a new neighborhood – but it also tacks on this concept of fluidity and progression which gives you an extra edge as a record shop. Besides saving on rent, what were some other factors involved with deciding to make the switch?
Luck: We made the switch to a truck because, in the most classic sense of the term, it’s a totally far out thing to do. And, more importantly, it excites us and it seems to excite other people. In this day in age, when people aren’t as excited about recorded music as they used to be, it is pretty novel to be able to make people excited about a record store. The truck allows us to keep it fun, keep it exciting, and keep it groovy.
l’étoile: Downsizing your inventory must have been a challenge. How did you decide what to clear out and put on sale during the store’s closing and what to keep and stock in the record truck?
Luck: We want to keep the stock in the truck pretty curated. Anything that we have even remote reservations about won’t make the cut. This is because of our limited space. But it’s great because customers that hop on the truck will find nothing but sweet records.
l’étoile: When it starts getting cold – as Minnesota is wont to do – what are your plans for the record truck? Are you planning to die-hard it straight through winter?
Luck: We’re pretty much playing everything by ear. We’re gonna experiment with places to sell and when we sell it. Perhaps winter will be a bust, perhaps we’ll drive south, perhaps we’ll get all Minnesota hardcore and set-up shop in the middle of a snowstorm. The beauty of the truck is that it allows us to do whatever we want.
l’étoile: Tell us about the Mix Tape Exchange and how it relates back to Yeti Records.
Luck: We ran the mix tape exchange before we opened Yeti. And it will continue to live on both in the truck and at its home at Caffeto Cafe. It is still thriving and we recently received our first international tape air-mailed direct from London. You can find the rules for the mixtape exchange along with pics of artwork from many tapes that have gone through it at yetirecordsmixtapeexchange.blogspot.com.
l’étoile: And finally, where can we find the Yeti Mobile Truck?
The Yeti Records Truck will officially be unveiled on October 20th at Brockway Stringed Instruments at 46th and Nicollet. You can find all you will need to know about where the truck will be at Yeti’s blogspot.
Past in-store performances at Yeti Records: