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Small Business Spotlight: Econo Jam Records

With the 8th annual International Record Store Day happening this Saturday 4/18, we wanted to spotlight one of the many incredible record stores that Oakland has to offer. Nestled in the growing Northgate neighborhood, just kitty-corner from Koreana Plaza on Telegraph Ave., is Econo Jam Records. Instead of specializing in one genre, Econo Jam gives its customers the cream of the crop from a vast range of artists, while also providing hi-fi stereo equipment, vintage players, turntable accessories, and even a repair shop in the back.

While Econo Jam has only had its doors open for a year and a half, it has been bouncing around owner Tom O’Shaughnessy’s brain for the past 15 years. Tom started building up his inventory in Reno, NV, where he started a small hardcore-punk distro, finding and selling records at merch booths in the underground music scene. Over the years he continued to build up his stock, diversifying into other genres like hip-hop and indie-rock. He gathered records as he and his wife, Tiffany, moved around the country, eventually settling in Oakland about 7 years ago.

As for many other small record stores, Record Store Day is a tight rope walk to balance getting enough of the limited-edition records on hand to please the rabid collecting customers, while being discerning enough to know which albums to pass on. In recent years, the list of limited edition records has ballooned to over 400 different titles, all being released on the single retail holiday, so it’s Econo Jam’s duty to make sure they pick their inventory wisely for the day, which if the store’s normal stock is any indication, they will.

In addition to the hundreds of new releases coming out on Saturday, Econo Jam will open at 8am and be putting hundreds of pieces of new-to-the-store used vinyl into their bins. The shop will be home to pop ups from Lake Stereo’s custom tube stereo amplifiers, and morning cups and pastries from Black Spring Coffee. Local DJ Earthquake will provide the soundtrack for the day, spinning rare Bay Area Soul, Blues, and Funk.

While some shops may have more floor space, or have a specific specialty, Econo Jam Records consistently keeps you thumbing through the stacks, pulling out gem after gem.

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