Record Store Spotlight: Streetlight Records, Santa Cruz & San Jose, CA

In this spotlight we spoke with Paige Brodsky, Store Manager and Marketing Coordinator at Streetlight Records, and it quickly became apparent that the passion and love for music is what drives everything happening in their stores. Check out the full interview to learn more about their stores and story!


1. How long have you been in business?


Streetlight Records has been in business since the mid-70s, though it started as a used stereo component shop that morphed into a record store. The owner, Rober Fallon, has always been interested in audio equipment and electronics. We started with one small location in Noe Valley in San Francisco and then added another store in SF in the Castro District. In the early 80s, we expanded to San Jose, about 60 miles south of SF. The San Jose store started out in a tiny house and eventually moved to new digs down the street--a 10,000 sq. foot space. In '97, we opened a fourth location in Santa Cruz. The two San Francisco stores have since closed and the remaining two locations are thriving and buzzing with activity, particularly in the vinyl section. The two stores are pretty different in personality, reflecting the differences in geography. San Jose is a sprawling metropolitan and suburban area in the heart of Silicon Valley. In Santa Cruz, the customers are a mix of tourists, locals and students from UC Santa Cruz.


I'm the Store Manager of our San Jose location and Marketing Coordinator for both stores. I am coming up on my 33rd anniversary of working at Streetlight!


2. Do you focus on any particular genres of music or any specific formats?


Our strongest areas are rock, soul/R&B and hip-hop, but we carry a large number of genres. Vinyl is, of course, huge these days. We do our best to keep the new LPs flowing, though the supply chain keeps throwing monkey wrenches into the mix. We're blessed to have an abundance of used LPs (and CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games) coming through the doors every day. That keeps our stock everchanging and interesting. This week, the focus is on Classical vinyl, as one of our customers is offloading a large, well-cared-for collection.



3. What are some of your best sellers?


Below are a couple lists of our bestsellers for 2021.


New LPs:

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Mac Miller - Swimming

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of The Moon

Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid M.A.A.D. City

J. Cole - 2014 Forest Hills Dr.

Mac Miller - Circles

Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

David Bowie - Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust

Arctic Monkeys - AM

Tyler the Creator - Flower Boy


New CDs:

MF Doom - Mmm..Food

Taylor Swift - Evermore

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

Kanye West - Graduation

Tony Bennett - Love for Sale

Madvillian - Madvilliany

Tyler the Creator - Wolf

Deftones - Around the Fur

2pac - Greatest Hits

Adele - 30



4. What are the biggest challenges you think the store will have to navigate in the next ten years?


The biggest challenges we're likely to face in the next ten years are the unforeseen ones. For instance, operating safely and effectively during a worldwide pandemic was definitely NOT something we were thinking about three years ago! That being said, changes in technology and how people consume music are always something we need to be aware of, though the vinyl resurgence shows absolutely no sign of slowing down. In fact, it's been so successful, that another possible area of concern is the bigger retailers seeing our success and trying to get into the game. While that has already happened to a large degree--and we're still standing--we have to be every vigilant.



5. Favorite three records of 2021/Any staff favorites?


I am notoriously bad at this, but a couple co-workers picked their Top 5 for a Record Store Day project.


Brittany:

JPEGMAFIA - LP!

Turnstile - Glow On

Slowthai - Tyron

Knocked Loose - A Tear in the Fabric of Life

Porter Robinson - Nuture


Mari:

Little Sims - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

L'Rain - Fatigue

JPEGMAFIA - LP!

Dry Cleaning - New Long Legs

Madlib - Sound Ancestore



6. Anything else you want customers to know? (do you feature live in-store performances? Have a cozy listening room, etc?).


We LOVE what we do and it comes through in the customer experience. At least that's what we're told. The number of times that customers seek me out to tell me they've had a positive customer service experience far outnumber the complaints (like 10 to1), which then makes us feel great and the whole positivity feedback loop continues. Also, we're working on getting our in-store performances going again after a break during the pandemic, but we're not quite there yet. It will be nice to have live music in the stores again.

Streetlight Records

San Jose

980 South Bascom Ave.

San Jose, CA 95128

408-292-1404

https://www.instagram.com/streetlightrecords/

Monday - Sunday: 11:00am - 7:00pm


Santa Cruz

939 Pacific Ave.

Santa Cruz, CA 95060

831-421-9200

https://www.instagram.com/streetlightrecordssantacruz/

Monday - Sunday: 11:00am - 7:00pm

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