We thought we’d share a bit of good from our friends out there in record store world. In this edition we spoke with Dan Cook (owner and founder of Gimme Gimme Records). Gimme Gimme is a Los Angeles by-way-of NYC shop located in the Highland Park area of the city.
To support Dan and Gimme Gimme Records check out their website – https://gimmegimmerecords.com and Discogs page – https://www.discogs.com/seller/GimmeGimmeRecords/profile
How and when did the store open?
I opened in October 1994 in NYC. We were in the East Village for 18 years. The shop moved to Los Angeles in 2012.
Was it an immediate success or more of a slow burn? Struggles?
Right away the shop was doing pretty well. I had been selling records at the Chelsea Flea Market previously, so a lot of my customers followed me when I opened the shop. But, it was also a bit of a struggle because I was still working full time at Ursus Books. I would open the shop after my day at the bookshop and weekends. So, there was a 6 or 7 month period when I was doing both. It was a pretty hectic schedule. Finally, I trusted that the record shop was doing well enough that I quit the bookstore and just did Gimme Gimme.
What aspect of your business is essential but rarely seen or appreciated?
One thing people don’t see are the dead ends. Looking at collections that don’t pan out or going to on digs that are a waste of time. The many phone calls, emails, texts that lead to nothing.
Your Instagram account is full of some great rare used LPs…What’s the process in finding these gems and are you constantly buying personal collections?
Yeah, it is super competitive getting good records. There are so many great record stores in Los Angeles…all pretty much looking for the same stuff. So, I am always buying collections large and small. That is one of the more fun parts of the business. You can really see someone’s personality and history by looking at their record collection.
How hard is it to cultivate a “neighborhood record shop” vibe in a city the size of Los Angeles?
L.A. is huge, but people stay close to home a lot because of traffic. I try to keep fresh stuff coming in all the time, so there are a lot of people who come by once a week to see what’s new. My shop is on a stretch with a lot of other great shops and restaurants, so I also get people from all over checking out the neighborhood.
We regularly hear Marc Maron talk about how much he loves Gimme Gimme on his podcast, WTF…any other celebrity types that are regular customers? And if so – who and what are they usually interested in?
We’ve had a lot of actors, musicians, and celebrity types flip through the bins over the years, but Marc is pretty avid.
Gimme Gimme seems like a store where the clientele is willing to take a chance on purchasing something they’ve never heard before. How important is that type of trust between you and your clientele?
If asked, I will tell people whether to buy something or not. I think that honesty builds trust. I will tell people if a record sucks or that there might be a better option. And also, if I am super excited about something, people can tell – and trust my enthusiasm. And also, perhaps more importantly, people have their phones to verify by streaming or reading reviews.
What new releases are you excited about? / What have you been listening to lately?
Newish releases: Stephen Malkmus – Traditional Techniques, Moses Somney Grae, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever-Sideway to New Italy, Eyelids – Accidental Falls, Mt Wilson Repeater-Burned Up Ghosts, Drugdealer- Raw Honey, Honey Harper – Starmaker, Ty Segal- First Taste, X- Alphabetland, Shabata & the Ancestors- We were Sent Here By History, Joe Wong – Nite Creatures, Dream Syndicate – Universe Inside…
Older stuff I listened to today: The Neats, The Lyres, Bridget St. John, Blue Oyster Cult, Gary Higgins
Anything else you’d like to add?
Support your local record store!