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Top Ten Records To Reopen Saturday as a Nonprofit Music Library

Top Ten Records in Oak Cliff will open for business again Saturday as a nonprofit enterprise.
Top Ten Records in Oak Cliff will open for business again Saturday as a nonprofit enterprise.
Screenshot by Danny Gallagher
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Dallas almost lost one of its few remaining classic record stores earlier this year, but Top Ten Records will open for business again this weekend with a unique concept. Top Ten Records on Jefferson Boulevard will officially reopen Saturday as both a music store and a nonprofit music library for the Oak Cliff community.

The grand opening starts at 3:30 p.m. with an party featuring live performances by DJ DeadWax, Sudie and VideoJuice.

Top Ten Records owner Mike Polk teamed up with Aviation Cinemas president Barak Epstein, who sits on the store's nonprofit board and operates the Texas Theatre just a few doors down, to reconceive Top Ten. The two have been working to relaunch the store for more than a year and a half. An IndieGoGo fundraising campaign raked in more than $17,000 in private donations.

The store will continue to sell new and classic music, movies and TV shows, but will also offer customers the chance to enroll in an ongoing store membership that lets them borrow CDs, records, tapes and DVDs just like they would from their local library. The shop's new hours will be noon to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Epstein says that he, Polk and everyone who helped turn Top Ten Records into a nonprofit enterprise wanted to ensure that their generation wouldn't be the last to have a neighborhood music store. "We just feel like this place that's been here on Jefferson [Boulevard] since 1958, and with the changes that were happening, we thought it would be great if this place could stick around for the next generation," Epstein says.

Epstein says that although Top Ten Records and the Texas Theatre plan on partnering for special events so they can boost each other's business. The record store also has plans to partner with Southern Methodist University's expansive media library to add to its collection and archive some of the store's collectibles.

"Part of our interest in keeping that store is how symbiotic we can be in terms of what we're doing at the Texas Theatre," Epstein says. "You may see art and music things that are there at Top Ten Records that relate to programming at the Texas Theatre. If we have soundtrack showings at the Texas Theatre, they may have them for sale at Top Ten Records."

Most important, Epstein says the new model ensures that the store's focus will remain on serving the community, whether that includes selling music to customers or giving local talent a chance to share music.

"It's always been community run," he says. "Mike has always had volunteers working there and always had people bringing in local music to set up and sell. So even though it's a single owner-operator, it still had this community feel, and we wanted to keep that in place. We want it to be community run and community operated."

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