Bop Shop Records

Bop Shop Records (formerly The Bop Shop) started in 1982 at Village Gate in Rochester, NY.

I spoke with owner Tom in the new shop on Monroe Ave. I was very pleasantly surprised to find so many cool things there…Posters, autographs, (all sealed in acid free sleeves!) and of course, records. First, let me explain that Tom started collecting when he was about 12. Now a grander (unnamed age) not only is he still collecting, he is eclectically collecting AND has bands playing in the shop on Thursday evenings.  Don’t let the small area fool you…the acoustics are awesome and Tom explained that he has had 90 people in the shop at one time to come and see a band…and he gets some great names!  OK, so Tom, tell me about the shop.

Tom: Well, I have some of everything… from Opera to heavy Metal. I have a large selection of jazz, but not new pop type jazz, and as you can see, I also carry cassettes.

BU: Cassettes? Really!

Tom: Cassettes are making a big come back…just like vinyl.

BU: Why do you think vinyl is coming back?

Tom: The sound. You cannot duplicate it in a CD. I don’t care how hard you try. But CD’s are still big because they are an efficient way of giving the younger generation some immediate gratification. You can pick it up and play it right away. BUT, CD’s are like Prozac! They take the highs and lows out that you can hear in a vinyl record, but not in a CD.

BU: I don’t have a stereo system anymore, sadly.

Tom: I think I can help you with that, (as he opens his arm to point out a small but awesome collection of stereo systems he also sells).At this point I am impressed.

Tom also loves 78’s. I had the EXTREME pleasure of listening to BB King on a 78 record. I have no words to describe what that sounded like.

Tom is a veritable who’s who when it comes to the music industry. He seems to know everyone. What’s cool is that he is the nicest guy despite all he knows, the people he knows, what he does and how he does it. Boasting the most comprehensive record collection around, it was clear to me he has earned bragging rights.

And of course, all his records are in one of our sleeves for protection.  He is very open to answering questions, so don’t hesitate! When it comes to what he collects, it must be pristine. As he said to me, “If it isn’t pristine, it’s just a record”.  Sounds like someone who clearly loves the pure sound of music.  So, Tom, you have been in this industry for a long time and have seen and heard more musicians than I can count. Out of all the music you have heard over the years, do you have a GO TO person or group you refer to?

TOM: I would have to say that’s a difficult question, but hands down, the answer always comes up OLIVER NELSON – Blues and the Abstract Truth. It’s so pure.

BU: SO, is JAZZ your favorite genre?

TOM: I do love and appreciate good jazz, but I would have to say my favorite genre is what you might know as “Americana”. It’s like rock folk type of sound. (Huh. Who’da thunk?).

BU: You are one of the most well-rounded people I know in music. You must love it fully because you have had your own store for so long and your collection is both eclectic and extensive…does it ever get old?

TOM: You know sometimes you get one of those days where people come in and are so elated with the record choices here that the enthusiasm is hard to tame.  For example, a twenty’s something chick came in the other day and held up two records and asked, “Which Matching Mole do you think I should get?”  My jaw literally dropped. *Note to self…Look up Matching Mole.  I was very impressed that she knew who Matching Mole is! I did direct her to the less expensive of them, however, because it just is better. I mean, how do you top that?I like working with people and we (Jan and I and Liz, and the others) get to interface with some very interesting people and I dig that.OH! We have a couple of things coming up that you won’t believe…we are going to have 78 RECORD LISTENING DAY on July 7th AND BRAND X will be here September 7th.!!!!!!!!!! (Now it was time for MY jaw to drop!).

I could go on and on…Tom’s understanding and love of music is, well, it’s pretty amazing, but I think part of that is Tom being Tom, and Liz being Liz.  Bop Shop Records is a nonstop train.  So, people of the world, join hands… 😀


  1. Definitely the sort of shop I want to visit… it was sad to see the disappearance of the record shop from so many towns I know… it’s reassuring to see that they’re coming back in places, and that Rochester is still home to a few, like this one, which sounds enticing.