13th Ave Records is looking for a new home in Regina

Locally owned family business Buy The Book and Yaz's Sports Memorabilia closed their doors January 30, 2014

by SaskMusic

February 11, 2014 in Artist News

After 18 years, Greg Prpich and his son Chris Prpich have closed the doors of their used book and sports memorabilia shop at 2718 13th Avenue in Regina's Cathedral area. The two opened the store in 1995 to serve the community's need for quality used books and records and as an outlet for Greg's extensive sports memorabilia collection. The store soon became a favourite for readers, collectors and shoppers looking for unique curiosities.  Over the years it grew to include reclaimed and restored vintage bicycles, stereo equipment, appraisal and restoration services and a meeting place for locals. On a typical day, one would find a few interesting treasures displayed on the sidewalk, friends stopping in for a visit, dozens of boxes of books coming in for trade, a turn table being repaired and an "oldie-but-a-goodie" playing on the overhead speakers. "There was never a dull moment" says Greg, who is often referred to as Coach. "People bringing in stuff to sell, the grandkids coming in for a treat, helping customers find books and records, everyday was different and alot of fun. From time to time even celebrities have come to the shop. We've had people like Sarah Harmer, George Reed, and Dave Ridgeway. Even Burton Cummings came in to buy some old hockey cards when he was on tour here. Now we have said goodbye and liquidated everything in stock".

As the business grew, so did Chris and Greg's commitment to the neighbourhood. As active participants in any of the community’s events, Chris also served as president of the Cathedral Area Business Association for 2 years, created the "Christmas in the Village" campaign and always had a large display at the annual Cathedral Arts Festival. "Years ago I realized that it wasn't just about what you put on the shelf, that the store was an extension of the family running it and that community was something we wanted to reflect in the business" says Chris. "Generating traffic in the neighbourhood and having a sense of pride in what we do has always been important". 

Over the past number of years, the store also became homebase to 13th Ave Records, a local indie music label which includes a number of Chris' bands. A key member of The Lazy MKs, The Lonesome Weekends and Brass Buttons, Chris had renovated the basement of the shop to serve as a jam space. Over time as he and the other musicians became more involved in Regina's music scene and crossed paths with more artists they liked to play with, Chris started the label to house all the bands. Most recently, the label presented the 2nd annual 13th Ave Records Rendezvous at Artesian on 13th. All 10 acts preformed to a sell-out crowd on December 28, 2013. "Having the space in the shop for all the artists to meet, write, rehearse and jam has been instrumental in allowing us to grow together, contribute to the music scene locally and be part of the community" explains Chris. "It's a great space and we have had alot of fun here over the years creating music. We will miss it, but hope to find a new home for the label so we can continue making music together". Chris' latest band, The Brass Buttons, made their debut this past August with a free rooftop show on top of the store. "It was great to give back to the community that has been so supportive of our musical endeavors with a free show. People bringing out the lawn chairs and setting up along the sidewalks, the passerby's looking up, it was great!" says Chris.

Although there are plans to continue the record label, there are not plans to continue the book and sports memorabilia store. Recent changes in the building they are located in means a rent increase of almost 100% which they feel will no longer allow them to be in business. "With the economic boom in the province and increase in real estate, some would feel that this type of operating expense increase is reasonable. But to a small business buying and selling used books and sports memorabilia, it's simply not possible for us" explains Greg. "It's been alot of fun and we have met alot of great people over the years. We thank our customers for allowing us to serve them and now look forward to future opportunities".

Greg now plans to spend more time at the family farm where he will set up a small bison ranch for his retirement years. Chris is looking forward to new opportunities for his bands and the record label, and to spending time with his family before striking out on a new venture.

About 13th Avenue Records
13th Ave Records an independent record label located in Regina SK that specializes in roots, county and rock. Created by musician Chris Prpich, who sought to unite his varied musical community under one name, 13th Ave Records was named after the street which the business and jam space was located. Prpich plays an active role in Regina’s music scene, both as a supporter of local talent and bassist for 3 of the label’s bands: The Lazy MKs, The Lonesome Weekends and Brass Buttons. The label is also home to Belle Plaine, Traplines, B.D. Willoughby, Pile O’ Bones Brass Band, Slim City Pickers, Snake River and The 13th Ave Strings.

Together the bands often perform and collaborate on eachother’s projects. For the past 2 years, the label has showcased the artists in the “13th Ave Records Rendezvous” held in the Cathedral neighbourhood’s Artesian on 13th. 

Streaming Music:
The Lazy MKs: http://thelazymks.bandcamp.com
Belle Plaine: http://belleplaine.bandcamp.com
The Lonesome Weekends: http://thelonesomeweekends.bandcamp.com
B.D. Willoughby: http://bdwilloughby.bandcamp.com
Slim City Pickers: https://soundcloud.com/slim-city-pickers
Snake River: http://snakeriver.bandcamp.com