On a frigid New Year’s Eve, music fans braved the cold to visit Treehouse Records one last time. The closing of the Minneapolis shop has left the corner of 26th and Lyndale without a record store for the first time in more than four decades. What started out as North Country Music in 1972 became Oar Folkjokeopus in 1973 and then Treehouse Records in 2001, paving the way for the punk and indie rock scene to grow in the Twin Cities.
Although the closing of Treehouse Records marked the end of an era, owner Mark Trehus wasn’t sad. “I feel a little whimsical about not having my sanctuary to come back to anymore and convene with like-minded people,” Trehus said. “I’m going to miss the customers a lot and the steady flow of records going in and out. It’s how I’ve made my living for the past 31 years, but it’s time to move on to a new chapter in life.”
Shortly after the store opened at noon on New Year’s Eve, it was already full of customers stopping by one last time to say goodbye. Local musician Charlie Lincoln was one of them. He came in early to buy a poster of NRBQ, a band his uncle played in as a bassist. Although he said he couldn’t call himself a regular visitor of Treehouse, he recalled some fond memories at the shop and it was important for him to support one of the city’s most historic record stores one last time.
“The best time I ever came here was when I saw Laetitia Sadier from Sterolab do an in-store here, which was super, super cool because I’d never seen her before,” Lincoln said. “But a lot of reason I know this record store was because it used to be Oar Folkjokeopus and my uncle was very much on the scene when people like the Replacements and Hüsker Dü were around and more of the focus and center of the scene. So it sort of has a historical legacy in that sense… It’s a great record store. I’m sad to see it go, but I’m glad I was able to make it in one last time.”
Although the majority of the people at Treehouse Records that day were locals, there were some out-of-town visitors, like Anjali Moore of Phoenix, Ariz., who also stopped by. Originally from Minneapolis, Moore has come back to Treehouse every time she comes back to Minnesota to visit her family. She was sad to see it close.
“This is one of my top favorite places in the Twin Cities,” Moore said. “We would just come in here when we’re visiting and hang out in Uptown because there’s a lot of stuff to do, and I’ve gotten some good records. The first time I came here, I got the Blondie album Eat to the Beat. It was one of the first records I really listened to. I listen to that album a lot, and I got it here for like three dollars. All over the place it’s way more expensive so that was kind of cool. I’ve always liked being in here, and I’m really sad it’s closing.”
Although it’s unclear what type of business will inhabit the space in the future, owner Mark Trehus isn’t too concerned. He’s just ready to move on to other things in his life and is looking forward to what’s to come.
“The relevancy of the store has decreased over time, and although financially I could continue to do this for a really long time and still keep my head above water, it just doesn’t feel as worthwhile as it used to,” Trehus said. “Fortunately I’ve been blessed. Everything is very positive about this, and I’m excited for what’s to come.”
Simone Cazares is a student at Saint Paul College. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.