Minneapolis will have one less record store in 2018.
If you're the kind of person who likes to complain about the homogenization of the greater Uptown area and bemoan the city's loss of cultural institutions (and who isn't sometimes?), Saturday's news that Treehouse Records will close its doors at the end of the year is further evidence of our civic slide into pre-fab characterlessness. Even if you're not that kind of person, it sucks to lose a cool record store.
Treehouse owner Mark Trehus announced his decision to retire after a Saturday in-store performance by the Suicide Commandos. “I am retiring,” Trehus later wrote on Facebook. “The store will close forever on December 31st, 2017.”
Trehus elaborated slightly when reached by email Sunday night. “Everything feels right and serendipitous about making this change at age 62,” he said, calling the closure “a decision borne out of positive changes I want to pursue.”
As Oar Folkjokeopus, the 26th and Lyndale landmark (kitty corner from the CC Club) played an integral role in the creation of the Minneapolis punk and indie-rock scene. Peter Jesperson, who'd go on to manage the Replacements and co-found Twin/Tone Records, was a clerk there in the late '70s, when Oar Folk became a place to buy punk records, flip through rock mags, and kibitz about local music.
“That corner was like the Haight-Ashbury of Minneapolis,” Jesperson told City Pages in 2013. “The record store became kind of the nucleus of the scene and musicians, and a lot of people actually moved into the neighborhood to be close to the record store and the CC.”
Trehus bought the store in April 2001 from Vern Sanden and punningly renamed it. Industrywide, sales of physical media took a hit over the next sixteen years, but Treehouse seemed to weather the storm.
There will be sales throughout the remainder of 2017, Trehus says. And, he promises, “There will be a party to say goodbye.”
You're probably already wracked by visions of what horrorshow might occupy the place -- maybe the city's first Replacements-themed condo? ("Our prices are 'within your reach.'") But here's the good news: Trehus intends to hold onto the property and lease the space. And while he's not looking to rent to another record store, he's well aware of the significance of his property's location.
“It is a special corner,” he says.