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Lucky Cat Records opens in Uptown

The Uptown location on Lyndale Avenue holds a special place in the hearts of Minneapolis music fans.
Image by Ethan Lambert
Lucky Cat Records is the third record store to occupy the retail space on the corner of Lyndale Avenue and 26th Street in Minneapolis.

On Friday, Lucky Cat Records kicked off its grand opening weekend with a special in-store performance from Tommy Stinson Saturday night.

The retail space on Lyndale Avenue and 26th Street is an important landmark for the local music scene, as members of legendary local bands like The Replacements and Hüsker Dü frequented the space, later known as Oar Folkjokeopus (Oar Folk for short) a record store from the 1980s. Oar Folk closed in 2001 and was transformed into Treehouse Records, which occupied the space until 2017.

Almost seven years after Treehouse Records closed up shop, Lucky Cat Records re-opened the space as a record store honoring the local music scene both in the record bins and on the walls.

The store was packed with vinyl-heads on Saturday, many of whom nostalgic for the days of Oar Folkjokeopus and Treehouse. The evening ended with an in-store performance by Tommy Stinson, a former member of The Replacements.

Michele Swanson, owner of Lucky Cat Records, said the location was an important part of the vibrant Twin Cities music scene of the ‘80s. 

“It’s almost an epicenter for a lot of the music that came out of the 80s,” Swanson said. “A lot of the punk music and post-punk and many of the bands and artists spent a great deal of time in the store. The Replacements were discovered here, Soul Asylum, Hüsker Dü, The Suburbs, it was a really special time when all that came together.”

Swanson said she wanted to open the store at this location because of its local significance. After connecting with Mark Trehus, owner of Treehouse Records and the building, the opportunity to open a new record store presented itself.

Swanson said the grand opening weekend was a success, with many customers sharing fond memories of the stores that occupied the space in decades past.

“We had all kinds of people all day yesterday in and out,” Swanson said. “And lots of people… coming in with all sorts of stories about being here when it was Oar Folk or when it was Treehouse. So everybody’s got a story, which was just fantastic.”

Patrick Tape Fleming, 43, drove up from Des Moines, Iowa to check out the store.

“I think it’s really cool, because it’s not only a store, but like a little Minneapolis music museum,” Tape Fleming said. “And I love that, being a huge Minneapolis music fan.”

The walls inside Lucky Cat Records are adorned with posters of some of the biggest names to come out of Minnesota, like Babes in Toyland, Semisonic, Soul Asylum and The Replacements. The store also has a significant portion dedicated to local artists, stacked with sealed records from artists like Bob Dylan and Low.

Jack Erickson, 65, enjoyed his experience visiting the store on Saturday.

“It seems like it’s geared more to a lot of local music from, you know, from back in the day when the Uptown was cool,” Erickson said.

With the store packed over the opening weekend, it seems like local music fans are rejoicing over the record store on Lyndale and 26th.

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