Audiophile hopes North Side’s Government Center is more than just a record store
When it came to naming his record store, Josh Cozby knew right away what to call the place: The Government Center.
Only some customers make the music connection.
“’The Government Center’ is a song by The Modern Lovers,” said Cozby, inside the shop on the North Side Friday. “And lead singer Jonathan Richman is still singing and writing songs. He also is known in Pittsburgh, being a pen pal with Andy Warhol, and he was featured at The Andy Warhol Museum. There is very little music that has stuck with me, but his has.”
Giving people a chance to experience how music can move them is a reason he opened his store.
Cozby left a teaching job in Salem, Ore., and moved to Pittsburgh to open the music hub which celebrates its grand opening March 23 in the Deutschtown neighborhood.
The event, co-hosted by independent, Pittsburgh-based record labels Misra Records and Crafted Sounds, will begin at noon starting with live music. At 8:30 p.m., PGHRecordNight will host guests who can bring their music or spin some from the store and be a disc jockey in a 30-minute time slot.
The place offers a wide selection of used and new records across all genres, with an emphasis on small labels, international and experimental releases, and limited editions, Cozby said.
The shop will feature new weekly arrivals and a rotating stock of used records.
“The store has been well-received by Pittsburgh record collectors and people looking for new music so far,” said Cozby, who lives on the North Side. “It’s a record store, but I want it to be more than that. I want to host live music and sell music by local artists, and I hope to foster people making music locally.”
So far, he has over 6,000 albums and 45s.
The average price for a used album is $5-$15, however some of the vinyl records in the store might cost as much as $250, but that’s the certainly the exception and is more for the exclusive, hard-to-find titles.
Cozby came up with the idea when he was teaching high school and middle-school students. He said he was more interested in talking to them about the music they liked and how it shaped their identity and got them through life.
He’s also a record collector has amassed more than he could ever listen to. He constantly learns from his customers, which makes this venture even more enjoyable.
“It’s important to explore music that is unfamiliar to you, because that keeps you young and open minded,” he said. “So I came up with this idea to have a place that connects with people around music. I know there are fewer places left to buy these records and albums because of digital and streaming of music. But I’ve found people are starting to buy more vinyl because they want something tactile, especially young people, who have this sense of ‘why don’t we reuse things that already exist?’.”
Cody Walters, main street and events manager for the North Side Leadership Conference and founder of the annual North Side’s Deutschtown Music Festival, helped Cozby find a home to live in and a location for his business on East Ohio Street.
“He wants his shop to be more than a record store by showcasing live music which brings people in the community together,” Walters said. “One of my favorite stories is that I helped him find a place for his business, but that I also helped him find a home. He is my neighbor and a fantastic fit to the area, and we are more than thrilled to have him on the North Side and on the street that is seeing a great rejuvenation.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .