For 22 years, Uncle Sam's Music has been one of the best record stores in South Florida, a place where you can buy a used CD, a new record, and a bag of incense, a pipe, and a t-shirt to go with it.
After nearly a quarter century, though, shop owner Lisa Teger Zhen has packed up shop and moved two blocks south to Uncle Sam's new location at 939 Washington Ave.
It's the same great store, with a bright new look. Here's what the shop's founder has to say about selling wax, the old dirty floors, and kids buying records.
Crossfade: Why'd you move?
Lisa Teger Zhen: Basically, the store was too big for us anymore. The music business changed a lot and a lot of our products were old and outdated and weren't selling anyway. So we pared down to stuff to that we sell regularly.
What you got?
New and used records, t-shirts, hats, jewelry, backpacks, and sunglasses. Tons of vinyl, exclusive limited-edition t-shirts by local artists, handcrafted jewelry by local jewelry makers, funky hats, and accessories.
Favorite memory of the old store?
When we first started, we had a cafe in the back with a stage and Marilyn Manson came in and did an acoustic set and the place went absolutely insane. We did a lot of live performances in the beginning.
What do you like about the new place?
The new store is beautiful. The old one was dirty and dingy and this one is nice and bright with a lot of light, a beautiful floor, and the same great employees.
Who's buying all that vinyl?
Vinyl has been really good for us. The crow has gotten younger. It used to be just people my age buying records. Now I have high-school and college kids buying records. They all have turntables. It's exciting to see young people getting excited over music again.
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You're having a big Labor Day sale, right?
Yeah. This weekend, anything you buy will get you a free Uncle Sam's shirt. Used CDs are only $5, so you can buy one of those and you get a free shirt.