By Joyell Nevins
Re-Animated Records features music, horror film kitsch
La Mesa Village has a new storefront — they don’t sell food, and they don’t sell cute gift items, but they do sell epic music and movie memorabilia.
“This is the perfect spot for this place,” said Cynthia Tecson, customer at the new Re-Animated Records. “La Mesa needed something cool.”
Re-Animated Records, which celebrated its grand opening on June 10, is the first of its kind in all East County. You can find records, cassettes, VHS, DVDs, posters, books, even movie dolls, from several of the past decades. A George Carlin record sits next to a Kris Allen album, underneath a Kiss poster.
You may find a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” plastic Dr. Frank-n-Furter figurine, or an original feminist literature title. The shop also supports local bands and smaller labels.
Re-Animated Records is named for the campy ‘80s horror film “Reanimator,” in which medical student Herbert West ‘wakes up’ dead tissue and brings the dead back to life in a gore-rific fashion. “Reanimator,” “Phantasm” and anything by John Carpenter comprise owner Nicholas “Nick” Friesen’s favorite films.
The store also represents the ‘re-animation’ of a dream. Friesen tried several times over the last five years to open a store such as this one, even looking at the same spot before all the downtown construction. But something always fell through, or an obstacle became too overwhelming. Then in April, Friesen and his wife Lynn decided to partner together and just do it.
“Finally, we were like, ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen?’” Lynn recalled. “We said, ‘Life’s too short, let’s do this.’”
So far, they have been welcomed with open arms by both the business and public community of La Mesa. They gush about their business neighbors and walk-in customers.
“We already have so many regulars,” Lynn said.
Nick handles all the inventory, of which there is plenty. The store is sitting on 10,000 records aside from what’s on the shelves, and people are continually bringing in new items.
“We always want more!” Nick said. “We never say we’re not accepting items, because you don’t know what you might miss out on.”
Lynn handles the bookkeeping and other business activities.
“I do the behind-the-scenes work, so he can just buy and sell records all day,” Lynn said with a smile.
That’s definitely where Nick’s passion lies. He’s a bass player and has worked in music and record stores since high school.
“He’s so passionate — this is his jam,” friend Dustin Harner said of the new store. “People will definitely get the best of the best.”
They will also get an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind clothing. Lynn populates the store’s clothing racks with her own line from the Etsy shop “Lynn’s Rags.” From a Rainbow Brite sheet-turned-skirt to an upcycled Iron Maiden T-shirt, her clothes have charm and character. And all are hand-sewn.
“Most record stores are focused towards guys,” Nick explains. “I thought it was a good thing to bring girls’ items in, too. It adds a nice touch to the shop. I don’t want to just run a guy’s club.”
Lynn started sewing when she was in high school, when she figured out she could take thrift store clothing and tweak it to her liking and her style on the cheap (is it any wonder Lynn’s favorite movie is “Pretty in Pink”?). People liked her clothing as much as she did, and eventually it went from a hobby to a business.
Just like how Nick’s love of camp and media has turned into what could be a viable income. This is his baby, and along with a lot of help from family and friends (and three days without sleep before the grand opening), he and Lynn have made it happen.
“Both of us teared up on opening day,” Nick said. “It felt like our wedding day. Totally overwhelming and surreal and incredible.”
Re-Animated Records is located at 8320 La Mesa Blvd. Open hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, follow “reanimated records” on Instagram or visit reanimatedrecords.com.