Planning in a pandemic— Culture Clash Records relocates to downtown Toledo

. August 25, 2020.
Marcia O’Connor, the widow of the late Pat O’Connor, with Culture Clash Records owner Tim Friedman. Photo credit Tim Friedman.
Marcia O’Connor, the widow of the late Pat O’Connor, with Culture Clash Records owner Tim Friedman. Photo credit Tim Friedman.

Culture Clash Records owner Tim Friedman is no stranger to challenges. And along with so many other small business owners, navigating the COVID pandemic while managing the day-to-day of retail is likely one of the biggest he has faced so far. However, seeing an opportunity, Friedman recently announced plans to relocate to 912 Monroe Street in downtown Toledo, the former site of the Paula Brown Shop.

“It’s heartbreaking not to be able to throw the doors open and have a big grand opening event, but I’m just looking at putting it together as being the great part,” Friedman said of the move. The Paula Brown Shop, a boutique store, occupied the Monroe Street space for roughly twenty years; likewise, Culture Clash Records has had its home at 4020 Secor Road since 2004.

The Monroe Street building has a long history as one of the oldest retail storefronts in the metro area. In 1908, it hosted Best Brooder Company, a poultry-breeding equipment manufacturer; in 1952, it was host to the Toledo Plant and Flower Company. (In the space between, however, it was reportedly a mob establishment; Al Capone is even rumored to have spent time there.) But historical anecdote aside, the architecture inside and out is beautiful. It truly lends itself to what has been a huge goal for Friedman since taking over the store in 2016: Building community.

Looking toward the future

Since taking over the store following the passing of Pat O’Connor, Friedman knew he had big shoes to fill. O’Connor was somewhat of a local legend; he started the store as Boogie Records in 1973 and changed the name to Culture Clash Records in 2004 when he moved to the current Secor Road location. “[T]aking on the legacy of Culture Clash feels like more of a responsibility to the community than to just Pat or the store. I always say that record stores are a cultural hub and networking point in the community, and that doesn’t just happen on its own,” Friedman said.

He has plans for a music venue space in the new spot and hopes to turn the new location into a more uniting space than was possible in the much-smaller Secor Road shop— a space that invites artists and other creatives, as well as other local business collaborations.

While The Pub (nka ‘The Pub at the Paula Brown Shop’) will remain open in one-third of the building, Culture Clash will take the storefront. In the meantime, Culture Clash will resume scheduling in-person browsing sessions and continue to build the Curates program as before, maintaining health precautions for safe and healthy shopping.

Record Store Day “drops”

However, what is set in stone is Culture Clash Records’ participation in Record Store Day on August 29, the first of three separate RSD dates (called “drops”). In place of the traditional crowded, stand-in-line format, new releases by old and new artists will come out on three separate dates, giving listeners something to look forward to, and allowing participating stores to distribute the goods safely. To participate in Record Store Day with Culture Clash, customers will sign up at cultureclashrecords.com and be placed in an online “queue.” They will then be assigned a number in the queue and an exact pickup time for August 29. Store staff will communicate with registered customers to confirm which of the RSD releases they are looking to purchase and will have them ready for curbside pickup at their assigned time on the 29th.

A few heavily anticipated releases for this first “drop” date include several live albums, such as Brittany Howard’s “Live at Sound Emporium”, David Bowie’s, “I’m Only Dancing – The Soul Tour” from 1974, and a Paris set from Kevin Morby; as well as soundtracks, such as the original soundtrack to the sci-fi hit Dune. Upcoming RSD “drop” dates are September 26 and October 24, 2020; you can view the comprehensive list of this years’ releases at recordstoreday.com.

Despite the pandemic, and despite all of the hard work this move will undoubtedly prove to be, Friedman is positive and looks ahead to a post-pandemic future. He anticipates the store will reopen in the new location in September, though no surefire date is set in stone, due to the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic. “Even just showing customers the place one at a time [ . . . ] that’s how it’s going to have to be. And we’ll make the most of it.”

Get updates and announcements at cultureclashrecords.com. 912 Monroe St. 419-536-LOVE.