8 defunct record store chains you will never shop at again

Peaches, Strawberries, Coconuts — buying music will never be so sweet.

Top image: AP Photo/Richard Drew

What was it with fruit and record stores? In the 1980s, no matter where you were in the country, odds are you could find that new Billy Joel cassingle at a music retailer named after produce — Coconuts, Peaches, Strawberries. 

In the early decades of rock & roll, if you wanted to pick up a 45 or LP, odds are you picked it up off a rack at a store like Woolworth's. According to the book The Recording Industry, even as late as the mid 1970s, about two-thirds of all records were sold through "rack locations." Otherwise, you'd hit the local independent shop. It wasn't until the late '70s, early '80s that record store chains began to proliferate. 

Despite the variety of fruit-flavored names, most of the chains were eventually operated by one company, Trans World Entertainment, who snatched up most of the regional brands below. 

Let's take a stroll through the malls of the past! Where did you shop for music?

1. Camelot Music


If you were lucky enough, as we were growing up, your local Camelot had a medieval castle facade. It brought a nice Arthurian vibe to the mall. In the late 1970s, Camelot also tried to launch a chain of free-standing brick-and-morter stores called Grapevine Records and Tapes. 

Image: egsalms / Flickr

2. Coconuts


Folks in the Chicago area will remember this spot for CDs and tapes. The chain eventually expanded to other states.

Image: craigslostchicago

3. Peaches Records & Tapes


Was there a better place to pick up the Allman Brothers' Eat a Peach? The store even had a similar vintage farmstand look to its logo. The one-stop shop was known for decorating its exterior with massive blow-ups of the latest album covers. They also carried the produce theme over to the record bins, wooden crates you could purchase to store your sweet picks.

Image: glgmark / Flickr

4. Strawberries


Don't be fooled by the cute name — this New England–based chain had ties to the mob. Strawberries was opened and owned by Morris Levy, erstwhile owner of Manhattan's famed Birdland jazz club and president of the Roulette Records label. In 1988, Levy was convicted of extortion in Federal court. The FBI claimed he had ties to organized crime and drug dealers.


5. Sam Goody


Sam Goody was one of the last on this list to survive, as the mall chain made it into the new millennium before filing for bankruptcy in 2006. The slogan proclaimed "Goody got it," and indeed the company was able to lure big names to its New York City store. Even Laverne & Shirley showed up to sign copies of their record in 1976.

Image: AP Photo/Dawn Villella

6. Tape World


With its arcade-like logo, Tape World was one of the hot spots for music in the 1980s. Just consider the name itself — Tape World didn't have the foresight to include CDs or the hindsight to include records. They were all in on cassette tapes.

Image: Michael Galinsky, Malls Across America

7. Tower Records


Tower was one of the last giants. Its strength was in its stock, as the big retailer was able to carry seemingly every title, including a healthy selection of imports.

Image: AP Photo/Ric Francis

8. Turtle's


Those from the Atlanta area undoubtedly picked up some wax from Turtle's. The chain expanded around the Southeast. We remember showing up to one for a Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge release party back in the day.

Image: Pinterest



Malls are just not the same without Hickory Farms and Gadzooks. READ MORE

Image: retrospace.org / Flickr

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Whitecaps18 3 months ago
Since April 2021, it's back! https://www.techhifi.com/strawberries-records
Cf73 4 months ago
I'm almost certain that Tape World also sold LPs and CDs. For quite a few years, Southlake Mall in Hobart/Merrillville, IN had a Camelot, Record Town, and Tape World all at once. There was a Coconuts across the street from that mall for several years. The Camelot is now an FYE. River Oaks in Calumet City, IL was home to Musicland, and our easiest to get to Tower was in Orland Park, IL. So many good stores gone.
FloridaTopCat 15 months ago
Believe it or not, The Record Department of EJ Korvettes in the NY Suburbs was excellent in the 60's. There was a Sam Goody about 25 miles away, but I got most of my albums at EJK back then. Once 8-Track & cassette tapes came along, EJK was already out of business and the specialty music required the trip to Goody's from my home. Top 25 albums could still be found in newer Department stores.
JeffryD 16 months ago
Let us not forget The Wherehouse, Music Plus and Virgin Records, all of which are gone, and there was a great chain in TX called Cactus along with one in OH called Record Theater.
mybeatgoeson 16 months ago
Does anyone remember a Record Store franchise from the early 70's called "Record Boutique"
Any information on it? I cannot find anything on Google, etc. about this Discount Record Store...
I know some were in Western New York (Buffalo or Kenmore area ) Thanks for any info...!
L 21 months ago
Downtown Lowell, MA also had Record Town. Where I lived, you either had the record department (Bradlees, Grants, JM Fields) or a "mom and pop" record store.
Djpmasman 22 months ago
I didn't read every single comment, but I can't believe that no one asked why the biggest of them all "Rose Records", was not on the list. There were a number of other well known record stores in Chicagoland also that weren't even mentioned. Very disapointing...
JeffryD Djpmasman 16 months ago
Used to get their catalog and ordered from them a number of times in the late 70's.
AuntieFreese 22 months ago
There are plenty of record stores in Chicago. I'm partial to Laurie's Planet of Sound. (And Vintage Vinyl's been going strong in Evanston for years.) https://www.timeout.com/chicago/shopping/the-12-best-record-stores-in-chicago
Liexus 22 months ago
I miss the mall’s I would go when growing up.
WatchingMe 22 months ago
Record City 4504 W. Oakton Street Skokie, IL
Flipside in the Oak Mill Mall 7900 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles, IL
Record Town & Tape World in Old Orchard Mall 4905 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, IL
They're all gone.
But I still have the 45's lp's & cassettes,
And some really great memories.
WatchingMe 22 months ago
TOWER RECORDS ONLINE STORE https://towerrecords.com/
brigarzmetv123 22 months ago
What about Miller's Outpost one of my favorites!!
MichaelVegas 22 months ago
I was wondering if you were going to say Tower Records, I use to go to college in San Francisco in the early 80's and I would stop off at the HUGE store they had there, they also had a lot of groups stop by for autographs and such. And Camelot was cool in the mall If I remember right they had posters too
TheDavBow3 22 months ago
Tower Records was the BEST! I lived in Philly in the late 80s/early 90s and their was a Tower Records with 3 floors. It was on South Street and that whole area never closed. Fun and crazy times. Much safer back then.
mayberrymiles 22 months ago
I had a Wooden Crate with the Peaches label for my LP’s. Just sold it on a garage sale a few years ago.
solarface 22 months ago
West coast had The Record Factory.... Catchy Diddy as well...
dth1971 22 months ago
What about Musicland or Record Town or National Record Mart/NRM?
MijiMo 22 months ago
I remember Sam Goody, Camelot, and Tower, but only from commercials...we had National Record Mart!
vinman63 22 months ago
Who would have thought a shop that started in a garage would rule the world.
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