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Jupiter Records Expands Folk Arts' Vinyl Universe

The owner of North Park's Folk Arts Rare Records readies a partner store in City Heights

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    A photo shows the inside of Jupiter Records & Tapes, which opens its doors on Saturday, June 2.

    "We're going to be an old-fashioned record store," Brendan Boyle told me during a recent afternoon phone call.

    While he could've been referring to Folk Arts Rare Records (3072 El Cajon Blvd.), which he's owned and operated since 2014, Boyle was actually describing his brand-new partner shop: Jupiter Records & Tapes.

    Located at 3610 University Ave. in City Heights, the 2,500-square-foot space will be "the largest record store in San Diego." A photo on its Facebook page already states nearly "100,000 records, tapes and CDs" will be for sale upon the shop's opening on Saturday, June 2.

    According to Boyle, Jupiter Records & Tapes arose out of necessity, really.

    "I've got a lot of records that are just sitting in storage," he said. "They're much better off served somewhere else where people can have access to them and purchase them, and they can be organized and so forth."

    For those of you that have dug through Folk Arts' extensive offerings ("Swami" John Reis mentioned in our recent interview that it's his favorite record shop in San Diego), you'll know that Boyle is more than just an vinyl enthusiast -- he's an obsessive. And Jupiter Records & Tapes is his latest attempt to bring the current consumer culture back to the glory days of record collecting.

    "I come out of the tradition of digging for records," Boyle explained. "That's what I've done my whole life. A big part of what we're doing is we're creating a digging spot. It's a place where you explore, you browse, and you discover."

    Four years ago, Boyle purchased Folk Arts Rare Records -- his favorite record store in San Diego ("It was a different kind of place, it was really unconventional and that's part of the reason I loved it") -- from retiring owner/operator Lou Curtiss, who had ran the legendary shop in various locations around town since 1967.

    Just a couple of months after the sale, Boyle ended up moving the unique shop (which was then set up inside a quaint University Heights house) to its current North Park location on El Cajon Boulevard. Since then, Folk Arts has flourished but Boyle still found himself with just too much inventory. So he began looking to open yet another shop that he could then hand off to his long-time "profit-sharing manager," Harry Miller, to operate.

    "He's a young guy, he's awesome, he's a friend and he's got a great work ethic," Boyle said about Miller. "Part of the vision of setting up this partner store was to give him the autonomy to make the store his own and put a lot of work into it. Rather than having him work for me, it's much better to see him reap some reward for all his labor. It's much more meaningful that way."

    For the past year, Boyle had been looking all over town for the right spot (with reasonable rent) to land Jupiter -- and he believes he lucked out with the locale.

    "City Heights, in my opinion, is one of the coolest neighborhoods in San Diego," Boyle explained. "It hasn't been completely ruined by developers and trendy restaurants and all that nonsense. It's a cool neighborhood; it keeps it real ... It's a very ideal location for the type of thing that we're trying to do and we're totally honored to be there in the community surrounded by all the amazing local businesses."

    As far as record stores go, it'll operate rather uniquely: Gone are the dollar bins and top shelves showing off $300 rare vinyl and the like -- all records, tapes, CDs and 8-track tapes at Jupiter will be priced at $5 each; 78s and 12-inch singles will be $4 each; and all 45s will be $2 each. As for what Jupiter will have in stock, Boyle said it'll be a bit (or rather, a lot) of everything.

    "This store, as it is, has a very impressive selection of what you would call your rock classics, and a very deep selection of rock classics -- and well-organized. It has a very large jazz selection and it has an absolutely gargantuan, massive, organized classical selection ... We're going to have all types of music. You're going to be able to find some punk rock, some hip-hop, a lot of international records -- all sorts, very eclectic."

    Boyle said Jupiter will be refreshed with good finds on a near-daily basis -- rewards worth finding if you're willing to do a little digging, old-school style.

    After all, that's kind of the point.

    Jupiter Records & Tapes is located at 3610 University Ave. It opens its doors on Saturday, June 2, and hours of operation are Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Follow them on Facebook here.

    Dustin Lothspeich has been an associate editor at SoundDiego since 2013, books The Merrow and runs the music equipment-worshipping blog Gear and Loathing in San Diego. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.