By Laura Geraldine
Located directly across from the West End Cultural Centre, Eat Em Up Records opened on May 1 of this year. Owner Brandon Ackerman saw definite niches no longer being filled when Kustom Kulture boutique in Osborne Village closed. This isn’t his first rodeo with record selling either; he was an instrumental part of the War on Music co-op for five years before parting ways. Following WOM, he worked at the Kustom Kulture warehouse for another for five years. Those experiences granted him all the insight he needed to startup his latest endeavor. Jan Quackenbush, the other half of Eat Em Up, is a staple of the Winnipeg punk scene, playing in bands like Squareheads, Rock Lake, and is the main brains behind the label component of Eat Em Up.
The store boasts a 50/50 split of new and used stock, also carrying sodas, stereo equipment, books, and VHS tapes. They will also buy or trade your records, books, and tapes, granted they don’t suck. I sat down with them recently to talk shop and pick their brains on Winnipeg commerce.
Stylus: So . . . Eat Em Up Records. What’s with the name?
Brandon Ackerman: So a lot of years ago, Anthony Bueno’s Uncle Larry wanted to get into a Squareheads show at the Albert for free, so he told the door guy he was from Eat Em Up Records.
Jan Quackenbush: After that, we put the Squareheads’ album out under that banner, and I continued to use it for all of my other musical projects.
Stylus: How did you guys start working together?
JQ: I joined forces with Brandon five years ago and we began putting on shows at the Windsor Hotel. There was a sort of vacuum at the time of venues closing, and the Albert self-destructing. We approached Wayne Sr and convinced him to let us do the Lazyhorse show there. It went well and he asked us to do a weekly draft night.
BA: We tested our partnership out 43 Thursday draft nights straight. Initially, we were just trying to make them a viable venue for a younger crowd. Prior to that, the Windsor only really hosted jams and blues acts.
Stylus: And what was the idea with opening your record store? Winnipeg already has several. What’s so great about yours?
JQ: We wanted a store that specializes in punk, garage, psych, rock ’n roll . . .
BA: Something similar in size and content to Sonik in Montreal, or [the late] Hits & Misses in Toronto . . . if that means anything to anybody here. I just wanted a store to identify with. I feel like when I’m out shopping in this city, I’m sifting through crumbs. The dregs is all that’s left of what was cool 15-20 years ago.
So there you have it. A record store where you can kick up your boots, crack open a cold drink, and buy hip, fresh, cool tunes at your leisure. Their thrift bin, judiciously called “One Dollar Land: Cream of the Crap,” is gonna be bumpin’ by the time this article goes to press, so go check it out at 466 Sherbrook Street!
Visit Eat Em Up Records at 466 Sherbrook St, or check out their tunes at eatemuprecords.bandcamp.com