top of page

The Real "Championship Vinyl"

I've had an entry in my head for a while now. I feared that it might be taken out of context, so I never published it. A light went on this morning and I decided to turn that entry upside down.

Mike Felten was the owner of the Record Emporium in Iron Mountain, MI. It was the record store that would become my second home as a teen. There was never an elitist clerk behind the counter who was too cool to offer assistance. Mike treated me like a human being every time I walked through the door of his store. He took the time to learn my interests and offered suggestions every time I visited him. He shared the information his distributors provided and turned us onto so many bands before they broke.

Photo courtesy of:

I lost contact with Mike for a few decades, but reconnected when I published a similar story on my first website about my experience at the story. He's also a singer-songwriter, so I saw one of his shows before I moved to Texas and had the opportunity to thank him afterward for everything he did for me over the years.

Mike operated the Record Emporium for three decades. He moved the store from Iron Mountain to Chicago, IL. It would later become one of the city's best record stores. It hosted scenes in the movie Love Jones, the TV show Cupid, and was the set inspiration for the fictitious record store in the movie High Fidelity.

Where am I going with this story? You owe your local record store nothing. Let them earn your business like Mike earned mine as a teen. What makes a great record store owner/clerk? Their willingness to share their knowledge with you. Their willingness to promote new releases that might be of interest to you. Their willingness to do whatever's needed to get the records that are of interest to you. Their willingness to make you feel comfortable when you walk through their doors.

I have never found a record store or owner that I appreciate as much as I appreciated Record Emporium and Mr. Mike. 40 years later, still looking. 40 years later, Mike and I are still friends.

30 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page