This place has gripped my interest ever since the property went up for lease online. It became even cooler when Village Guitar and Amp popped up next door, and then subsequently more so when I first met Dallyn as he was moving in and explained the project to me through the black gates out front of the courtyard. As soon as I had the opportunity to visit the shared commercial space, I did so, and now I proudly support Beaumont Film & Record and The Underground Cafe - brilliant additions to the creative culture currently burgeoning in the Riversdale neighborhood.
Below is an interview, or rather, two separate interviews I did with Scott Gowen and Dallyn Guenther who own Beaumont Records and Underground Cafe, respectively. Although I regret not asking where the names of each business came from, I enjoyed hearing the passion each of these guys have for what they are doing, as well as some hints at things to come. One other thing I love is how both of these dudes are in great bands. Read on and enjoy:
C: Is this the first business attempt for both of you?
S: Yes. I had worked in a pharmacy for 12 years previously.
D: Sort of, I piloted a business idea of my cousin's over in New Zealand, a little roadside espresso stand which was awesome, but this is my first lone venture.
C: How did you land this primo location, and what is it like working next to Village G&A?
S: Dallyn and I had been looking for retail space separately. When we decided to work together we were able to look at bigger places. We knew we wanted this space as soon as we saw it. It seemed perfect for a coffee/record shop. With the courtyard in front, we knew we couldn't pass it up. Being next to Dan and Todd at Village is great, they're two great guys, and we can duck out and try out some of the sweet new gear every once in a while.
D: I was looking around Broadway and there wasn't much available to 2 regular guys with regular bank accounts haha. I had taken my Telecaster in for a tune up the day before my old band Breaker Breaker had a show. I asked what was happening with this spot, Todd said they were looking for some cool neighbors to share the patio with. That's all it took. It's amazing to be able to go and jam if there's no customers, and I get to meet some stellar musicians.
C: How will you make (and have you made) use of the terrace out front?
S: I think next year we'll try to have some shows out there. RIght now, it's just a peaceful place to enjoy a cup of coffee.
D: The coffee shop makes the most use of it during the day, but when Beaumont or Village has a show, it provides a mellow chill spot to have a smoke or a drink or a conversation between sets. Definitely an asset to the three of us. Future plans include winter patio heaters, summer al fresco movie nights, and ice castle building!
C: Scott, how much of the record collection did you build up prior to opening the shop?
S: I had all my distributors lined up months in advance, so that was sort of a dream -tracking down any album I could think of and bringing it into the shop was one of the most exciting things that happened. I had to let go of some of my collection for the used section, but I have a lot of friends who are collectors, and they donated and sold me off some of their run-off.
C: Do you focus on a particular style of music? I noticed on your FB page that you allow customers to give input when you do your orders. To what extent do customers play a role in the type of music we see on the shelves?
S: I like bringing in a bit of everything -experimental, psych rock, punk rock, hip-hop, you name it. One of the best things about working in a record shop is discovering new music. Having regular customers who come in and share their favourite bands with me is a great way to branch out the selections I carry. Fans of the Facebook page will give me recommendations, which I love. I usually order extra copies of a recommended title, which lets them know I actually took their suggestion seriously.
C: You have done a few live in-store performances already, do you intend to make this a regular thing?
S: We love having in-stores. It's fun for us, and it brings new people into the shop. We really want this space to be more about the experience than just simply buying a record or a coffee and leaving. We hope that it will be a destination spot where friends meet up over coffee and make plans for the night while listening to great tunes.
D: Yessir. In an ideal world, every night!
C: What's the best album you have right now in your opinion?
S: That's a loaded question. There's too many choices! I'm liking the new album from this band Beak> which is a UK based trio, including Geoff Barrow from Portishead. They recorded their first album with some strict rules, mostly that they recorded all their parts in the same room, with no overdubs. I'm not sure if they stuck to the same rules on their 2nd album, but it sounds slightly more together, and is one of my top choices for record of the year.
D: I've all but worn out Scott's Otis Redding record, I think it's called Love Man. I named a drink after Otis this week, try it out!
C: Dallyn, what's your specialty?
D: Anything espresso based. I'm serving Transcend Espresso, a boutique roaster out of Edmonton. Of course I would say this but I really believe it's the finest coffee in town.
C: Aside from coffee, what can we get?
D: I have a small selection of sweets and baking, dessert specialties, lunch, coffee beans, witty remarks, advice on home brewing.
C: How did the record store / coffee shop combo come about? Has the combo worked well so far?
S: It came out of necessity (we needed to team up so we could find a space we could both afford), but it's worked out really well. People who come in for vinyl, are pretty psyched that they can get some coffee, and vice-versa.
D: I had the idea after finding a rather large space for a cafe on Broadway, and knowing I couldn't fill it out and that Scott was planning on opening on his own as well, it didn't take long to realize it was a natural choice.
C: Will you guys be doing food/lunches? If so, what can we get?
D: Today was the first day for the lunch bar - a big hit! A range of meat/veg grilled sammiches (sic), soup and salad combos.
C: Once you guys start making millions, what will you do? What are your future plans for the store?
S: HA, if I make millions I'd probably pack it in and concentrate on my band The Moas. In the meantime, I'd really like to be able to get the space acoustically set up for shows, so we could have any kind of band play and it would sound great in the room. Other than that, I'm happy to hang out in the shop and talk music or film with anyone who comes by.
D: Bad habits and too many parties! The more money the shop makes, the more I can improve it and make it better. I just want to keep doing what I do best and avoid getting a real job haha. I have more ideas for the shop than I know what to do with... we'll just start with a Catan tournament every month...
C: What do you guys love about the neighbourhood you are situated in, and where do you fit into it all?
S: It was very important to me to be in Riversdale. I live close by,and most of the friends my age who are buying houses are doing so in this area. 20th street is in a really exciting place right now where it's transforming into an extension of downtown, a destination street in its own right. I wanted the shop to be here because I'm excited about all the new businesses opening along 20th and wanted to be a part of this new scene.
D: Our neighbors, the coffee, the proximity to the landing. there's a big sense of community here, like we are all working together to make this place happening! It's really cool not to feel like everyone is competition. I think we fit into the neighborhood pretty well. The Symphony, Paved/AKA, Village G&A, it's like we've got a whole music sector going on over here. If we had a venue we'd be set!
C: Where can people find you, online and off?
S: 430 20th street West, Riversdale, Saskatoon. Behind the black wrought iron gates.
you can email me at email@example.com and I'll have my website (beaumontshop.com) up in the next few months, I'm also on Facbook (click here) and Twitter (here).
C: Well, I think the place is incredible and you'll be seeing lots of me. Thanks for taking the time guys!
For any Rooster readers in Saskatoon, I would recommend this combo endeavor as one of the best spots in the city to slow down and enjoy yourself in.