Mindbomb Records: one of the downtown community’s newest additions

One of the downtown business community’s newest additions, Mindbomb Records, opened their doors this April on Record Store Day, and they seek to fill a gap in the Niagara business scene by specialising in new vinyl records.

For fans of vinyl records, the Niagara Region has several second-hand options for people looking to root through old, used records to try and find classics. Between record shows held at the Holiday Inn, and used stores like Niagara Records on St. Paul Street, the St. Catharines community has had many options for anyone interested in buying used records.

However, until recently, there were few options for people interested in purchasing new vinyl. Chris Charkowy, owner of Mindbomb records, saw this gap and decided to open up a record store that would provide a different type of business than the used record stores and record shows that St. Catharines already had.

“I thought if I opened up a shop, I could fill that void,” said Charkowy. “I have worked in record stores for over 15 years, including Sam the Record Man, CD Plus and managing Sunrise at the Pen Centre. I took a Niagara College course on self-employment, and decided to open a record store.”

Christy Mitchell/The Brock Press

Christy Mitchell/The Brock Press

Mindbomb also fills another important gap in the Niagara Region; the store functions as a Ticketmaster pickup point. When Sunrise at the Pen closed, many residents lost their main stop to pick up Ticketmaster tickets, so Charkowy’s choice to add Ticketmaster to his store filled another need for the city.

When discussing why he chose to open on James street, Charkowy explained that the downtown business community in general has been thriving lately, and James street seems to be showing a particularly notable growth. Charkowy said that he knows the owners of both Beechwood Doughnuts and the Craft Arts Market, both of which are also located on James Street, and he sees a new small business community growing down the street.

One of the primary reasons that Charkowy said that he likes downtown St. Catharines is because of their investment in young and new business owners. Between the community of business owners in the area and the support of downtown, Charkowy said that James Street seemed like a natural pick.

“I like that downtown is promoting young entrepreneurship and buying local,” Charkowy said. “It’s a really good community.”

Charkowy’s business intends to give back to the community that has supported it, as Mindbomb strives to create not just a business, but a space for music fans in the city.

“We have a little stage, and we’ve had in-store performances” said Charkowy. “It’s a culture. We want to have people coming in, talking about music and watching music [happen].”

For anyone interested in checking out Mindbomb, October may be an ideal time, as they have a sale going on for the month. This sale is called “Rocktober,” and offers buy one get one 20 per cent off for the store.

Mindbomb is located at 27 James Street in downtown St. Catharines. For more information, their phone number is 289-362-0505 and their website is mindbombrecords.com

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