By Corey Jenkins, Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance
For the first time in Kenmore’s recorded history, vinyl aficionados, crate diggers, and lovers of music on physical media have a shopping destination on Kenmore Boulevard.
But Juju Bonz Records – which will celebrate its official grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 18 at noon with an open house, live music, and a ribbon cutting by City of Akron officials – is much more than just a record store. It's a place for community music makers and creatives to come together to network, make plans, and learn from one another.
In addition to selling new and used records, tapes, CDs and even 8-track tapes, Juju Bonz offers clothing, jewelry, magazines, rock and roll memorabilia and more. Visual artists can also consign their work there.
“Juju Bonz will be whatever the Kenmore community needs it to be beyond just a record store,” co-owner Julia Bentley explained. “Our last shop changed over time. Music and art are alive and can change, and so will this.”
Formerly known as Frankenstein Records, the business is the 16th to find a home in the Kenmore Boulevard business district in the past two years, said Tina Boyes, executive director of Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance. Another, Buzzbin Art & Music Shop, relocated to Kenmore from downtown Canton, where it served as a temporary home for the record store.
Gradually, the record store became a place where musicians and concert goers would hang out and network during COVID-19 when alcohol sales ended at 10 p.m.
“So much of the revitalization of Kenmore Boulevard centers on celebrating and building on our assets,” Boyes said. “Our musicians, our music businesses: those are assets. What’s missing are the additional gathering spaces: welcoming places where art and ideas can be exchanged. Juju Bonz is exactly the right place at the right time.”
The store will serve as a place for musical discovery, whether it’s by sitting on one of their couches and listening to music you’ve never heard or by spending some time in “The Wreck Room” – a DIY recording studio located in the back of the store where artists can experiment with the recording process.
“I want this to be an engaging space for the community to try something they’ve never tried before, whether it’s art or music,” Julia said.
Julia hopes to host alcohol-free or “dry” shows at Juju Bonz to give music lovers of all ages a safe and comfortable place to enjoy live music without alcohol. It’s a fitting use for a building once home to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
“Or, if someone just wants to hang out and play a game or read a book or talk music, this is the space.”
Juju Bonz Records is located at 989 Kenmore Blvd. It is open noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Sunday. Extended hours will be available after Buzzbin and Rialto shows too. For up to date information, visit Juju Bonz on Facebook or buzzbinkenmore.com/juju-bonz-store.