PARMA, Ohio — Record store The Current Year is set to open inside the same building that houses legendary Parma bakery Rudy’s Strudel, at 5580 Ridge Road.
The shop will open to the public with a grand opening celebration from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8, with DJs performing outside the store from 3 to 7 p.m. The celebration will take place concurrently with Rudy Strudel’s party for National Pierogi Day.
The Current Year is owned by Michael and Marie Stutz, who got their start selling records a couple of years ago. The shop first operated in a small corner of Fairview Park resale store The Salvage Yard.
When The Current Year began to outgrow its former space and the coronavirus pandemic led to retail shutdowns in the spring, Michael and Marie found a new home thanks to their friend, Lidia Trempe, who co-owns Rudy’s Strudel — a bakery and restaurant that’s been open since 1948.
Michael, a Parma native, was already familiar with the eatery.
“The weird thing is, Rudy, who opened the place in the 1940s, I knew him when I was a little kid. My mom took me here. I have these memories of being five years old, and this old guy with a cigar in his mouth at the counter would give me some Bazooka gum,” Michael said. “I just remember loving this place. It’s so weird that, a quarter century later, here we are. Rudy’s passed on but we have a record store here.”
The Current Year takes over the side of the Rudy’s Strudel building, closest to the intersection of Virginia Avenue and Ridge Road. The section of the building hadn’t been used in years, Michael said, and was formerly an office space.
When putting together the store, Michael and Marie said they received plenty of help from members of the Northeast Ohio Vinyl Club and Legend Records storeowner Larry Landis in planning distribution and organizing the shop’s selections.
Inside The Current Year, a few rooms connect to a small main showroom. Each area is filled with a mix of records, posters, books and more. In total, the cozy space can accommodate eight people (including Marie and Michael) while social distancing, Marie said.
“We thought to make a boutique record store that’s very regulation-compliant, but more of a personal one-on-one shopping experience,” Marie said. “We’re doing a lot of by-appointment stuff.”
The Current Year’s arrival has added some flair to the historic Polish Village neighborhood, which offers plenty of Polish eateries along with other cultural institutions like instrument store Makin’ Music and Prama Artspace.
“This neighborhood really is terrific. It’s very pedestrian-friendly, we see all kinds of people, all ages, all backgrounds. They all say hello,” Marie said. “We want to eventually put a little table and chairs, where people can enjoy their pastries from Rudy’s.”
The couple caters to the neighborhood’s heritage with a strong polka section, and other ethnic music selections like classic Italian music. In the coming winter season, the couple plans to put out a variety of holiday records and decorations.
Marie and Michael have also found plenty of outlets for their own musical backgrounds in the store, too, with genre breakdowns like psychedelic rock (the two perform in a local psych-rock band Heaven), rock (Michael is a former rock writer), classical music (Marie is a classically trained musician) and, notably, the store’s “luxuria den,” which contains techno, disco, Tiki and exotica music (a mix which reflects Michael’s DJ tastes).
“The big thing is the luxuria den. I’ve been into tiki for so long, and I’ve played exotica music since I was a kid, but I see this new exciting thing called luxuria, which is like the new evolution of where exotica and tiki is going,” Michael said. “I definitely want to champion great music of all kinds… I want The Current Year to support the stuff that is on the edge right now, because it feels like it is the time for something interesting and new.”
Though Michael and Marie are focused on getting the store opened, they already have plenty of future plans for the space. They aim to bring in local poets for readings in the luxuria den space, and in the summertime, they hope to host small outdoor shows in the parking lot. Michael also plans to launch a podcast with WCSB DJ Max Payola.
You can find more information about The Current Year at its Facebook page, facebook.com/TheCurrentYearRetro.
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