Bob Koester opens new record store after Jazz Record Mart closes
Owner Bob Koester looks at some of the CDs he has for sale at Jazz Record Mart on Feb. 14, 2016, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley, Chicago Tribune)
Bob Koester, who founded Chicago’s Delmark Records and recently sold his Jazz Record Mart, turns 84 this month – and he’s celebrating by launching a new store.
Bob’s Blues & Jazz Mart had a soft opening over the weekend at 3419 W. Irving Park Rd. “Already one customer on Saturday!” says Koester.
After Koester sold the Jazz Record Mart’s inventory and name in February, he began selling records from the front room of Delmark’s studio at 4121 N. Rockwell St.
Another record store has closed in Chicago. Feb. 15, 2016. (CBS Chicago)
“But we were just too crowded in the front space,” says Koester of a room about 600 feet square.
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The new storefront ups that to 1,200 square feet, giving Koester space for a rapidly expanding inventory.
“People kept offering me collections, and I kept buying them,” says Koester. “In addition to the Delmark catalogue, we’ve got every kind of music that I sell.
“I’ve even got 400 or 500 classical LPs.”
The new space will give Koester the opportunity to present free, in-store performances, the first at 1 p.m. Oct. 15, featuring the Dan Meinhardt's Outset, a jazz ensemble.
So who will be minding the store?
“I’ll be there 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays,” says Koester, meaning he’ll open and close the place every day it’s open.
“It’s going to be a one-man operation, I hope, for a short while. We’ve got six or eight people already who want to work there.
“It’s going to be fun.”
For more information, phone 773-539-5002 or visit www.delmark.com.