A Visit To Mill City Records, Hopkins, Minnesota

While visiting Audio Research in Minneapolis prepping for an upcoming Stereophile review my hosts took me to Mill City Records in nearby Hopkins. Wow!

While it was short of imports and old vinyl it is otherwise one of the best record stores I've ever visited. Store owner Rob Sheeley recently bought two significant record collections: one belonging to a recently retired Minneapolis-based music reviewer and one that's the contents of long ago closed record store, the inventory of which has been sitting in a basement for more than twenty years. The records are mostly sealed originals. Going through them was like visiting a time capsule.

The store has among the best selection of new and used vinyl and the used record prices were very reasonable. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.

This video shows why:

bpw's picture

I've visited the Twin Cities quite a few times over the years and have been to several record stores in the area -- Cheapo, Hymie's, Electric Fetus, and others. Plenty of gems to be found, so many that I'm glad I don't live there. None of the locals have ever mentioned Mill City.

Michael Fremer's picture
Was next stop had I time.
MrMikeGC's picture

Mill City is relatively new. I hit many of the shops on record day, but Mill City was most enjoyable with free beer, pizza and cupcakes! Only regrets: no classical recordings and minimal jazz.

bpw's picture

Any retailer serving alcoholic beverages, even free, is taking a big risk. In these litigious times anybody can get sued. The guy who has a couple of beers and gets into a traffic accident going home, maybe even hurting or killing someone, can get the business owner into a ton of trouble at the least.

MrMikeGC's picture

Probably true. I just wish you would of kept this comment to yourself as I would like beer (Craft Beer no less!) next year. Kind of a kill joy aren't you? Soda and pizza isn't quite the same.

bpw's picture

No, a realist. Put yourself in the shoes of the retailer. Would you be willing to risk everything for the sake of making people coming for the beer, etc. happy?

Automobile dealers are very aware of these things. Give away booze, somebody gets into a wreck, and next thing you know the dealer gets sued for millions and possibly gets shut down by law enforcement for not having a liquor permit or license.

Yeah, reality bites. Sorry to dampen your spirits, pun intended.

my new username's picture

Did their idiotic ContentID system flag this because of some music picked up in the background? All I see is a msg to view it on YouTube, but iOS won't take me there.

Wondering if a move to Vimeo or some such might be something to consider?

my new username's picture

It worked fine on the second try!

my new username's picture

When I lived there, Euclid was a small shop. They'd since moved into upscale digs and got bigger, cleaner. Unfortunately it can be a challenge to find record stores that don't look like someone's dusty closet.


Montpier's picture

Hey MF - Forgot which Axpona room I was in, but thanks for playing the Hank Garland track from 'After the Riot'. While Nat Hentoff's liner notes on 'Newport Rebels' (Candid) also mentions the riot, you were probably thinking of 'Muddy Waters at Newport' where Otis Spann sings "Goodbye Newport Blues" written on the spot by Langston Hughes.

And, yes, 'The River' is fantastic -- heard a wonderful performance of full album with a band at the Country Music Hall of Fame here in Nashville a couple of months ago -- but 'King's Record Shop' might still be Rosanne Cash's best. Pick it up next time.

Michael Fremer's picture
It was stupid of my not to buy it!
azmoon's picture

As already stated, Kings RS is a great LP. But so is Rhythm and Romance, the one with the punk hair cover. I never judge a record by it's cover! These 2 are her best.

Montpier's picture

As someone who spent 5 years at a record shop in the 80's buying used LP's, actually nine out of ten times I think you can tell a record by it's cover. Yeah, Rhythm and Romance may be an outlier -- and by mid-80's standards that cover ain't so bad -- but there are a lot of really terrible records out there with covers to match! Thoughts?

TonyG's picture

A close friend of mine sold his entire record collection to Rob. I wished I had the money to buy it - it was a great, great collection. I forwarded your video to him and this was his reply: "there were three of my records I sold to Rob Shelley:: Rashaan Roland Kirk, Jim Hall ‘Big Blues’, and the Pablo jazz LP."

Also - two more votes that you should have bought King's Record Shop.

Not only is Mill City a gem of a record store, but Rob and his staff are wonderful people.

Rudy's picture

I almost took a drive up there before AXPONA, but didn't have the time for an extra two days of travel. I still may get there this summer. That massive collection of sealed records was slowly being put out for sale, last I heard. Would love to see what they have.