Despite "Available" sign, Uptown Cheapo to remain open for now

This building isn't quite as available as the sign might lead you to believe.
This building isn't quite as available as the sign might lead you to believe.
Aaron Rupar

Selling antiquated products in an antiquated building next to a multi-floor, mixed-use redevelopment project that's still under construction, the presence of an "Available" sign on the exterior of Cheapo's Uptown location prompted some to believe the iconic record store wasn't long for its rapidly gentrifying environs.

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But manager John Wurm told City Pages the record store will remain alive and kicking, at least for a few more months.

"Our [15 year] lease was ending this month, but we renewed it through February of next year," Wurm said, citing a conversation with Cheapo's owner. "They're still going to try and actively lease it out but they haven't found anybody so they renewed with us. It's an ongoing deal"

Wurm, for his part, doesn't think it's a foregone conclusion that the building's owners will find a more lucrative lessee -- "This place is giant, so I don't know what somebody would lease it for," he said -- but a more realistic scenario might involve the property being redeveloped into something higher density along the lines of the properties adjacent to Cheapo on both the east and west.

As for Booksmart, the book store that fled its old Hennepin Avenue digs for the Cheapo basement's buildings in the summer of 2011 following a rent increase, Wurm characterized the two stores as a package deal.

"If we're out they're out -- if we're here they're here," he said.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at

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