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Bohrman recently quit his day job as an assistant art director after he was denied time off to tour with Thee Makeout Party. This, he figured, was as good a time as any to pursue his record-store dream. Still, neither he nor Rickard had experience running a retail operation—but their friend Brian Flores did, leading to him come aboard as a store co-owner.
“I’ve been working in record stores since I was 17,” says Flores, who owned the now-shuttered Costa Mesa store Third Eye Records, a smaller shop than Burger’s space. “I’m 37 now.” Flores met Bohrman and Rickard through the store, which he describes as a place where “I pretty much just sold what I liked.”
The Burger Records store isn’t in a typically desirable location—an industrial area on the Fullerton-Anaheim border, with an unoccupied space as a neighbor and a massage parlor a couple of doors down—but it still wasn’t an easy find. Bohrman says it took him two solid months of scouring to find an appropriate space.
As the Burger store comes to life, the vital element is, of course, stocking the shelves. But that’s actually the easy part. These guys are major collectors, with tens of thousands of records in storage between Borhman and Flores.
“I have some records that I haven’t even listened to that I bought, like, five years ago,” Flores says. Bohrman, who spent most of his life traveling around with boxes of vinyl and tapes, swallowed his pride and cut his personal stash down to seven boxes. He’s committed to putting the rest on the shelves.
They’ll also sell Burger releases, which typically run $5 to $6 for cassettes and $14 for vinyl. The store will buy, sell and trade records, as well as shirts and record players.
But vinyl—used and new—will be the primary product. Bohrman and Rickard had long discussed the idea of having an “inspiration box” at Thee Makeout Party shows, selling copies of records that helped shape the band’s sound. The Burger Records store is essentially that idea, escalated.
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Bohrman, Rickard and Flores have all been told it’s insane to open a record store right now, especially one with such niche appeal. Even the AT&T workers installing their phone lines gave them a hard time.
“People are saying, ‘Oh, you’re brave for opening a store in this economy,’” Bohrman says.
“Whenever I see strip malls and I see ‘Fashions for Less’ and blah blah blah, I think, ‘How can these places stay open? Who goes to them? Why can’t I have a record store?’ At least it does something for society,” Flores says.
Still, these guys aren’t dumb. They realize that switching from an underground label to a retail operation is a major shift, and unleashing their unusual product to the masses is a risk. So what does it take to make something like this work? Ultimately, they’re banking on positive thinking and a somewhat-infamous self-help book.
“You guys are familiar with The Secret?” Rickard asks. “At first, I thought it was a joke. I was like, ‘This is fucking real?’ It’s hokey, but as far as positive thinking, I believe it.”