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Hot! Park Blvd Records Standing Strong In The City Of Oakland, Ca.

Park Blvd Records opened with a crate full of Too $hort and Andre Nickatina albums, a used stereo and limited expectations.

The music store is down the street from the long-abandoned Parkway Theater, where storefronts can cycle quicker than new Lil B releases. The owners initially populated the music store with titles from their own enormous personal stashes — including the greatest collection of Washington, D.C., rap the Bay Area has seen.

 “Our $500 counter was the most expensive purchase,” proprietor Andrew Nosnitsky says. “I honestly thought of the whole thing as an experiment. Worst-case scenario, just no one comes.”

But two years after its 2015 inception at 2014 Park Blvd. near Lake Merritt, the business is doing just fine, with support from an Oakland community that has disposable income and a love of old-school music.

Park Blvd Records is built for discovery. It has a deserved reputation as a place to find rare rap releases on tape, vinyl and CD, but a quick tour of the small space (there are only quick tours) shows a healthy collection of R&B, rock, a surprisingly strong house/electronica section and even a few ambient/new age albums.

“If someone brings me a good punk collection, I’m not going to turn it away. We’ll be a punk store for two weeks until it sells out.” Nosnitsky says. “I’d like for everybody to be able to walk in here and not only find something, but find something they’re not going to find at a typical record store.”

The store was founded by Nosnitsky, a hip-hop journalist and blogger in his 30s now, and Jason Darrah, who blogged about classic Bay Area rap and sold albums online. Darrah left the business earlier this year.

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