Electric Fetus, 521 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1968-1972)

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Electric Fetus, Cedar Avenue, 1972
Electric Fetus window, Cedar Avenue, 1972
Address: 521 Cedar Avenue S
Neighborhood/s: Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis, Minnesota
City/locality-
State/province
Minneapolis, Minnesota
County-
State/province:
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Current Function: Business
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick

Cedar-Riverside Minneapolis Hennepin County

Electric Fetus, 521 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1968-1972)
(44.968165° N, 93.246839° WLatitude: 44°58′5.394″N
Longitude: 93°14′48.62″W
)


The Electric Fetus record store's original location from its 1968 opening to its move to 2000 4th Avenue S., Minneapolis in 1972.

Contents

History

In Minneapolis’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood on the West Bank, the heart of the state’s counterculture movement, two University of Minnesota students Ron Korsh and Dan Foley decided to open a record store at 521 Cedar Avenue South. Inspired by the New York retailer Electric Lotus, they named their new operation: Electric Fetus.

Opening June 10, 1968, Electric Fetus quickly became one of the premier indie record stores in the Twin Cities, offering a wide variety of folk, rock and blues music as well as posters, pipes and more catering to the hippie culture of the late 1960s.

Korsh sold his share of Electric Fetus to Keith Covart in 1969, and Foley sold his shares in 1978, making Covart the current and sole owner. Covart opened new Electric Fetus locations in St Cloud and Duluth in 1987, which remain open today.

In 1969, Electric Fetus moved across the street to 514 Cedar Avenue South, but after losing its lease in June 1972, the Electric Fetus moved to its current location at 2000 4th Avenue South, and expanded to encompass 2000-2010 4th Avenue South in 1994.

Today Electric Fetus still remains a Twin Cities music staple, offering everything from CDs to LPs of new and classic music, live in-store performances, as well as books, gifts and more. The Wall Street Journal named Electric Fetus one of the best vinyl-record stores in America in 2011, and City Pages has consistently named it the best Twin Cities CD store for new music.

From the Founders of the store

The Electric Fetus: A Brief History

The first thing people usually notice is the name. National Lampoon magazine singled the store out for having the worst name for a business. Be that as it may, it’s a name people don’t forget. No one seems to remember the exact original inspiration for the lighting rod of a moniker that our store was born under; it just seemed to fit the times. It made a lot of sense at the time and somehow still does.

The year 1968 was one of extreme change for the country. It was in this spirit of revolution that the Fetus began its existence, founded by four friends on Minneapolis’ West Bank, the center of the city’s hip scene. The original Electric Fetus was as much of a cultural experiment as a retail establishment. The stories from those halcyon days are part of Twin Cities underground legend. There’s the story of one of the owners being given a citation for refusing to take down a drawn, caricature poster of John and Yoko’s Two Virgins with Richard and Pat Nixon’s faces on the bodies.

Or the time another one of the owners was arrested for having a “peace flag” in the store window. Or the numerous accounts of customers finding the front counter vacant except for a note asking to patrons to leave the money for what they took by the register (most customers did). And of course, there’s the Streakers’ Sale, in which customers were allowed to take all that they could carry for free as long as they shopped in the buff.

By 1972 the country began to experience a loss of innocence and a dissolution of the ideals of the alternative dream (Altamont, Manson, Watergate, etc). The Electric Fetus followed with the sign of the times and left the West Bank to move to its current location on the corner of 4th Avenue and Franklin. That location expanded and eventually two more branches opened in Duluth and St. Cloud. Of the original four founders only Keith Covart remains. Keith’s daughter Stephanie and husband Aaron came on board a number of years ago to carry on the Fetus family-owned tradition.

Although different from its West Bank origins, the Fetus is still a fixture of the community, where you’re likely to run into many of the Twin Cities’ up-and-coming musicians (either behind the counter or browsing the stacks), sports stars, newscasters, or even the mayor. It’s a place to talk about music with the staff or to find that totally unique gift for that person in your family who’s impossible to buy for. We not only sell tickets to shows around town but often host free in-store performances and family friendly events where you can see your favorite artists up close in an intimate setting.

There’ve been a lot of changes at the Electric Fetus over the past 49-odd (and we do mean odd) years and there will continue to be. What won’t change is our commitment to turning our community on to cool music and unique gifts, much of it homegrown. So stop in and find out what’s going on. You’ll probably bump into someone you know, or someone you’d want to. [1]

Memories and stories

Badges

65}px This place is part of the
1968 tour of the Twin Cities

Photo Gallery


Notes

  1. http://www.1968exhibit.org
  2. http://www.mnhs.org/index.htm
  3. http://www.electricfetus.com
  4. http://www.gtcbms.org/Electric%20Fetus%20History.pdf
  5. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703529004576160292131128206.html
  6. http://www.citypages.com/bestof/2011/award/best-cd-store-new-1844000/
  7. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/06/08/electric-fetus-records-minneapolis-50-year-celebration
  8. http://www.startribune.com/an-electric-fetus-timeline-50-years-of-history-at-the-minnesota-record-store/484863101/
  9. http://www.startribune.com/electric-fetus-turns-50-fun-facts-about-minnesota-s-legendary-record-store/484862901/
  10. http://www.startribune.com/electric-fetus-owner-reflects-on-50-years-i-had-no-idea-it-would-last-this-long/484862981/
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