It started when I walked into Deep Space Coffee a few months ago.
Jenny Phy takes the Pop-Up seriously. She’d turned this hip, minimalist coffee shop into a bustling, mid-’60s mod living room. With records everywhere. Records in crates, records on risers, records on tables, records in the grips of the 1000 people crammed into this little java shack. After the displays, she brought in seating, a nice coffee (of course) table, and a reedlike reading light that curved several feet before resting over your head. To enter Deep Space Coffee that morning was to enter the Phys living room.*
They clean every disc (except the sealed ones). Their in-town prices are excellent. They have broad tastes, deep pockets, and tons of backstories.
But unlike so many record store owners, they’re into you loving the records you love.
Sure, they’ll rap about whatever you picked out, if you want to rap about it. And they’ll trade urban legends and liner notes… if you want to trade urban legends and liner notes. And you can just pay and leave. No judgement. (Side note: It always seemed strange to me that a business owner would look down on you for buying a product they carry, for you to buy, and are currently selling you.)
Most of the last 15 years, I’ve relied on DJs, friends, and the iTunes Store for music. As I’m figuring my way through vinyl, filling out my collection of indispensables, it’s a relief to find a shop that carries so much of what I like. And that’s the little hole at the center of Hi-Phy Records, that lets the whole thing spin: it seems like we’re always on the same side.
*Of which you can sneak plenty of peeks on their Instagram.