Chicago's Dr. Wax stores, from the early 1980s until the last one closed in 2010, truly embodied the idealized notion of a neighborhood record store. Opened by Sam Greenberg in Lincoln Park in 1980, with a second location on the south side in Hyde Park following in 1984, and a couple more locations to come on the north side in the Edgewater neighborhood and in north suburban Evanston, they catered strongly to the neighborhoods they were in. The Hyde Park location in particular became an incredibly strong proponent for independent soul and hip hop artists, and remained so to the last day.
Chicago Reader music writer Peter Margasak had this to say to us about his time working -- and before that, shopping -- at the Lincoln Park store in the late 1980s:
"I was a regular at the original Dr. Wax in Lincoln Park when it was a tiny little shop, slightly below street level, and I continued to be a regular until my dream came true, and I landed a job there—in 1986, I think. I was there less than two years, but my love of record store culture was cemented there thanks to the camaraderie I felt with the other employees, the shared sense of discovery, and a healthy disregard for what was hip. My real musical education began at the Dr. Wax on Clark, just a block or two north of the original location. The experience fed my curiosity, opened doors, and made me a lifer. I haven’t worked in a record shop in 24 years, but my romance with them has never died."
To be continued...
(Dr. Wax Hyde Park photos courtesy of Charles Williams.)