When a fire broke out on the morning of Feb. 21, destroying Toast Cafe on Vine Street, next-door neighbor Chad’s Records also felt the burn. While firefighters saved Chad’s from the flames, smoke and water damaged forced the record store to close, lest its large collection of valuable vinyl find itself warped and rendered unsalable.
Closed indefinitely (like Toast itself), owner Chad Bledsoe might have remained out of business were it not for an offer from his cousin, David Smotherman, owner of Winder Binder Gallery & Bookstore on Frazier Avenue.
Smotherman suggested Chad move his business and inventory into the store and Bledsoe quickly accepted.
“Were cousins, so it made sense to work together to get him back open and over here on the North Shore,” Smotherman said. “I have always wanted vinyl in the gallery, but never wanted to compete against a family member, so this ended up being a great ending to what could have been a bad story.”
Smotherman said he’s moving things around to make space for the collection.
“We’ll start off slowly with about 500 square feet, then slowly add more with demand,” he said. “Chad had about 900 square feet on Vine Street and we’ll try to have him up to that by the summer,”
Winder Binder will end up with a slightly smaller “living room” area and less room in the tin toy section, Smotherman said, but added he’s excited about the union and the addition of Chad and his vinyl to his shop.
Bledsoe’s stock begins arriving this weekend, just in time for Art Til Dark Opening Weekend on Saturday, March 9. Stop by, shop, welcome Chad to Winder Binder, say “hey” to Dave and celebrate all things local—cool art, books and records.