Eclipse Records talk about their new location
Photos by Nick Wosika
Eclipse Records has had a challenging history, as has been covered rather thoroughly in the past by City Pages. The store spent 1999-2003 on Grand Avenue, re-opened on University Ave from 2008-2010, and is now settling into a downtown St. Paul location that, no doubt, owner Joe Furth would like to be its last.
Eclipse Records 3.0 opened on September 29th, and this incarnation of the store has shifted away from in-store venue and arcade, choosing a focus on vinyl sales and collaborations with existing venues. That collaboration, though, has taken a larger scope with the new store. Located side-by-side with Eclipse are Big Table Studio and Amsterdam Bar and Hall--both of which are also new to the block and hope to spearhead a vibrant downtown music scene.
Gimme Noise took a moment with Furth to discuss the new store, and what he's learned from his many trials.
Gimme Noise: Can you explain the "business trifecta" a bit? Eclipse, Amsterdam Bar and Hall, and Big Table Studio are all entirely separate entities, right? Do you share anything besides common walls?
Joe Furth: We are all separately owned and operated. Big Table has done screen print work for us and Amsterdam, [store manager] Martin Devaney books bands there. We all get along and support each other.
How much was the city of St. Paul involved in your re-opening?
The property is owned by the city and is managed by someone else, but we negotiated for a year with the city on this project. Because of the history of the property [Pop! And Fhima's were previously located at the corner, with much city support] everyone assumes they backed the project with city money. That is not true, but they are very much behind the project.
Will Eclipse host any shows, or are you shifting to a sponsorship/booking/promotional role, in relation with Amsterdam?
We will now have "typical" in-store performances and, yes, shift toward sponsoring and promoting shows at Amsterdam and other venues.
Photos by Nick Wosika
This re-opening comes a lot quicker than the Grand to University move. What made this transition so much faster?
They say timing is everything. Very shortly after the University Avenue location closed we, along with the Amsterdam and Big Table folks, were contacted by the city and negotiations began.
Despite all of Eclipse's hardships, it seems that each move has involved a larger scope. What keeps you motivated?
I still love music and being my own boss. Over the years, I feel the store has progressed and not stayed the same--which keeps it fresh and interesting. In the end, I wouldn't be here without the hardships. I've learned from them, which makes it better each time.
Who are your favorite bands you've discovered through your experiences with Eclipse so far?
I've hosted a lot of shows over the years. Some have moved onto greater heights and some did not. More than the bands, which come and go, I've met a lot of great people who went from customers to friends.
More photos of the new space by Nick Wosika:
Store manager Martin Devaney
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