Local Current Blog

Electric Fetus closes Duluth location, music hub ‘beyond retail’ for north country scene

The Current's program director Jim McGuinn and Andrea Swensson, then host of the Local Show, shop at the Electric Fetus Duluth in 2016. (Jay Gabler/MPR)

The Electric Fetus today announced that it’s closing its Duluth location, a staple of the north country music scene since 1987.

“After 33 years in business, we’ve made the difficult decision to permanently close our Duluth location after having to shut down for COVID-19 since March 2020,” wrote the store’s owners in a statement. “It’s been incredible to be a part of the very special Duluth community and music scene.”

According to the statement, “the onset of COVID in the Spring of 2020, along with various challenges we’ve faced in Duluth — changing retail environment, the water main break, road construction, and more — has made maintaining a brick-and-mortar presence in the city an uphill climb and not viable.”

The Electric Fetus continues to operate its flagship location in Minneapolis. The record store also formerly operated a St. Cloud location, which closed in 2014. “What a major bummer,” tweeted Holly Hansen (Zoo Animal) after the news about the latest closure broke. “Always my first stop when getting to Duluth.”

In Duluth, the Fetus went “beyond being a retail store,” wrote Breanne Marie (Breanne Marie and the Front Porch Sinners) in a post to a Facebook group created in recent days to show support for the store. In the group, Duluthians shared memories of supportive staff, unique gifts, and in-store performances. Among those sharing fond sentiments was Brittany Lind; at present the host of The Current’s Duluth Local Show, Lind was a staffer at the Duluth store for several years.

“When I got hired at the Fetus in 2014, it was actually to work in the clothing/gift department,” she remembered. “But with Record Store Day 2015 quickly approaching, they needed someone to plan the festivities and book the bands. I was l like, ‘I can do it!’ And from then on, for the next five years, I was the one that booked the in-stores and organized the events.

“From Dessa’s album signing, to the daily in-stores during Homegrown, to a coloring book debut and beer tasting…because, although events were usually music based, it really was about the community. I’m going to miss it.”

“We very much appreciate our time in Duluth, our loyal customers, and the community’s support over the years,” wrote the Electric Fetus proprietors, vowing to continue serving music fans in Minnesota and beyond through the Minneapolis location and mail-order service.