by Frank Lewis
The Waterloo neighborhood around the Beachland Ballroom continues to expand at a recession-defying pace. The latest addition to its collection of hip, locally owned niche businesses is Blue Arrow Records and Books (16001 Waterloo Rd., 216-486.2415), which opened last night. It’s the brainchild of Pete and Debbie Gulyas, who run This Way Out, the vintage store in the Beachland basement. Like that store, it should quickly become a favorite stop for touring musicians, as well as local rock fans looking for something to do between sets at the Beachland (like most of the street’s businesses, it plans to keep rock ’n’ roll hours, opening late and closing late).
Last night, local music fans and collectors munched on pizza and chocolate chip cookies while checking out Blue Arrow’s stock of vinyl (LPs and 45s), music-related magazines and books (as well as old pulp novels, an essential for fans of the Cramps’ ’50s trash ethos), T-shirts, and even videos and cassettes for aficionados of obsolete formats (no word on when the 8-tracks will be arriving). Although neighboring Music Saves has also greatly increased its stock of vinyl, Blue Arrow’s focus is on older music — ranging from Les Paul and Mary Ford to Sam the Sam & the Pharoahs to Paul McCartney — as opposed to young acts releasing new vinyl. The store is extremely spacious, with plenty of room for more stock as people clear out their basements and bring their treasures in for recycling.
Its pièce de resistance is the floor, which Pete covered with more than 1,200 album covers; you might find yourself standing on Nancy Sinatra, Suzi Quatro or Perry Como. A good time to check it out is next Friday, April 3, when most of the street’s half-dozen galleries have openings. Its website will be at bluearrowrecords.com but it’s not active yet. — Anastasia Pantsios