New Music Store Aims to Cater to Local Artists

Photo: Ear Peace Records, located at 3268 Adeline St., opened its doors Friday, offering locally produced music and arts merchandise.
Edwin Cho/Photo
Ear Peace Records, located at 3268 Adeline St., opened its doors Friday, offering locally produced music and arts merchandise.

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Though the year began with a number of closures in the city, South Berkeley's business atmosphere appears to be improving as owners and city officials make an effort to turn the district into a popular location for small and independently owned stores.

Opening Friday for the first time in South Berkeley, with a grand opening scheduled for the following day, Ear Peace Records - an extension of the record label owned by Jesse Bordiuk and Stu Lucero - is the most recent addition to the changing and revamped business landscape of the area. The shop's owners hope the record store will develop a new "sub-culture" in the city as customers are drawn to its locally produced music and arts merchandise.

Bordiuk and Lucero, who are members of Candlespit Collective - a local independent music group - have owned their own record label since July 2010 and are co-owners of the shop, along with Alison Ferrell.

Ferrell said the three secured the location at 3268 Adeline St. in December, a day after deciding to establish a store on a whim, and signed the rental contract within two days. Further preparations for the store - in what turned out to be the first commercial space for Lookout! Records, a well-known Berkeley-based record label that managed Green Day early in their career - only took about four months.

"(It was) a chain of events meant to happen," Ferrell said.

The city appears to have turned its attention to improving business conditions in the area, Ferrell said. She added that she and her business partners are young and can act as catalysts in revitalizing the district.

The street already has free two-hour parking, as the city suspended the use of parking meters on Adeline last October following many proprietors' complaints that the meters repel customers.

Though there are a number of record stores within the city, Elizabeth Delgado, the city's community development project coordinator, said their business situation is similar to that of local restaurants in that each business can still manage to do well despite competition.

Ferrell said that Ear Peace Records distinguishes itself from other stores - such as Amoeba Music - by offering a larger collection of records by smaller independent and local artists. She added that she is not worried about competition due to genre and inventory differences.

The owners hope that the store will also serve as a networking place for aspiring young artists and a home for the arts, both music and visual.

Ferrell said the store will feature live performances and showcase local art. With what Lucero calls a "floating stage" - a miniature indoor balcony - the store will host performances by local artists or poets. The establishment also offers an outdoor cafe.

The store will also sell clothing and custom art, such as object tattoos - locally designed art on a canvas of choice.

But their focus will remain on the music. Lucero said that the group is "in search of serious music" and will be selective in their merchandise.

Bordiuk said they are "more inclined to independent music" and are not likely to sell records that are in the top 100, unless "it's really decent music."

"We embrace good music," Lucero said, adding that the store will be family-friendly and will also have a children's section. "If it passes a certain level of social acceptability, we won't sell it."


Contact Karinina Cruz at [email protected]

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