Wellington Avenue is filled with boutiques, cafes and stores, and when a storefront became available in August of 2015, a dream came true for Bernard Turcotte. He was able to open his library Les Bons Debarras.
For many years, the Verdun resident had been forced to go downtown or to the Plateau Mont-Royal to find vinyl and comic books, his two passions.
« Those were long trips, especially in the winter. The items were not always sold at the same place, making the trip even longer. I figured I could do something different, » the store owner explains.
His answer is a store between 1st and 2nd Avenue, where collectors can browse records and find books in the ceiling to floor shelves that surround organized bins. The slightly used books are both English and French, and Turcotte is also proud to offer a vast array of comic books.
« I’m into books and music and I’m a collector who would spend a lot of spare time in this kind of store. So it’s been a dream to start a store of my own, » he says.
The first few years have been lean, but the surge in vinyl sales has helped. He has a keen eye for what the record buyers want. His selection is ripe with special printings and hard to find classics. Right now, he has the complete Nirvana discography in their original or 1990s pressing, including the 1992 purple colored « That’s Bleach » record, an original « Nevermind » and the blue twirl version of 1992’s « Incesticide ».
The store is attracting collectors from around Montreal and Turcotte often has in-depth discussions with the regular customers.
« It’s really the only record store in Montreal that has good prices, a wide variety, rotating stock, and a friendly vibe where strangers just end up chatting about books or music and art, » explains regular customer Howard J Siroky. He credits the owner with always offering great recommendations and providing a welcoming space.
Turcotte would like to pursue other ventures with the store, but finds it often conflicts with the time he wants to spend with his young kids.
« I guess lifelong dreams can have a small downside. But I would not trade it for anything. I like being my own boss, talking with others who are passionate about books and records like me, » he says.
But when the daily responsibilities of running a business do get to him, he puts on a favorite album, grabs the nearest book and smiles.
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