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Two Akron-Area Musical Landmarks Find New Life

Pastor Mary Michel

  Two of Akron’s musical landmarks found new life in 2015, as Time Traveler Records re-opened and the former Lentine’s Music building found a new tenant. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.

Lentine’s Music was opened in 1977 by retired Akron music teacher Joe Lentine. At its peak in the 1990s, the store had a half-dozen locations as far away as Jackson Township and Strongsville. But the flagship store was always on North Main Street in Akron, with silver-and-gold-band-instrument wall decorations. Those decorations remained after the store closed in 2007, a victim of heavy competition from national chains and online sales. Now, Bridging the Gap Ministries has moved into the space, and Executive Pastor Mary Michel says the location is perfect for their mission.

“We [are] developing a residence hall for men in transition, and that also allows us an opportunity to have 

Time Traveler Records, Akron
Scott Shepard says business is good in Time Traveler's new location on Market Street in Akron.

our building taken care of. We’re going to be developing a teen center. The first floor is going to have a café. [And we] really want people to feel this is a safe place. Try to make this a real beacon for the North Hull community.”

The building retains the old Lentine’s sign, and is open the third Thursday of each month for food distribution.

A few miles south, another musical landmark has re-opened. Time Traveler Records started in 1980 as The Record Connection. ts flagship store on State Road was well-known for its eclectic selection of CDs in the days before online shopping. Owner Scott Shepard says he was ousted from that location last year due to a rent increase, just as the new Portage Crossing shopping complex was opening next door. Now, the store is back with a location in downtown Akron, just around the corner from St. Vincent-St. Mary.

“It’s usually been about a 70 percent CD-to-vinyl percentage, but today it’s been the opposite. Today’s been 70-percent vinyl to 30-percent CDs. It just fluctuates.”

Shepard says most of his vinyl customers are under 30, but he still has many people asking to special-order rare or imported CDs.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.