Sunday, January 15, 2006

Peaches Records & Tapes - 5150 S. Sheridan Rd.

In the 1970s, deep discounted music was a rare occurance. Small, independently owned shops couldn't afford to do without the small profit they were making off low-volume album sales. At some point during the decade, Honest John's (predecessor to Starship Records) and Sound Warehouse started discounting. In 1976, a new store owned by the Peaches record chain was built near 51st and Sheridan. They boasted a million dollar inventory...practically everything (domestic) in print was stocked. You could find almost anything there without having to order it. Since they had deeper pockets, they cut prices even more than the local guys. They focused keenly on high-volume album and tape sales, although they also did a brisk business in a few accessories items like the popular Peaches album or tape wooden crates. Woodland Hills Mall opened a few years later, adding more cookie-cutter music stores to the area. Sadly, by the end of the '70s, most of Tulsa's independant record stores had been put out business by these new corporate stores in town.

Peaches' future wasn't that great, either. They made a gamble when they decided that the average consumer would not be interested in a budding new audio format, the Compact Disc. This proved to be quite untrue. Before they could change course, the cash-poor business faltered and the company went bankrupt in the mid-'80s. The store was quickly reopened as another large chain music store called Buttons. After a few years, it failed as well. It was also a Blockbuster for a period of time before the current furniture store took ownership.

Part of the Peaches tradition was to have large concrete squares along the sidewalks surrounding the building. Musicians would be asked to sign and put their handprints into the squares like Mann's Chinese Theater. Quite a few celebrities visited the Tulsa store long enough to leave a memento behind. Despite the turnover of the Peaches property, all owners have left the handprints alone. Some have aged so badly that they are completely unreadable, but most are still in decent shape. I took a visit over there yesterday to get them all recorded for posterity...just in case. There's a new Peaches photoset available of these photos.

The pic above was a feeble attempt at recreating the look of the original Peaches. I chose 1981, since that was the year I probably spent the most money in Peaches. Don't scrutinize the photo too closely, as I'm no master of Photoshop.

How many Peaches crates do you still have?

What was the name of the record store that went in across the street from Peaches? Is it still there? I used to get a lot of alternative imports there in the late 80s/early 90s

(enjoying your site)

/BA native
I think your 'unknown' Peaches photo might be Nick Gilder.

And this is a great site. : )
/BA Native...

The store you're thinking of was Mohawk Music. They were an awesome little store where I used to buy, trade, and sell my tapes.
I used to buy all kinds of CDs..etc at Mohawk Music..In fact I am trying to locate the old owner Paul and can't seem to locate his card to find his last there anyone who can tell me how to get in touch with him???
I was a customer of Mohawk Music from late 1988 through June 30th, 2001, their final day of business.

I can't count the number of Fridays that I would rush over there right after work and blow a big chunk of my paycheck. It was a great place to meet with other music junkies, discuss tunes, soak up (and spread) local gossip, and seek amateur (but helpful) relationship and/or psychological advice.

On their last day, I showed up 5 minutes after they opened, with a lawn chair and a big bucket-o-bagels, and I just camped there, talking to Paul, the staff, and other friends who were coming by to say their farewells. I stayed (along with many others) until almost an hour after the normal closing time, trying to be the very last person to make an actual purchase there. Unfortunately, due to another engagement that evening, I wasn't able to succeed with that endeavour, but at least I was 'one of the last.'

After Mohawk closed, I wrote a fairly massive letter which was published in Urban Tulsa, decrying the local musical climate and 'do-anything-for-a-bargain' attitude that had killed yet another wonderful local mom-and-pop business.

Mohawk was an extremely special place, and I still feel very sentimental when I think about it. It will always hold a very precious place in my heart, and Tulsa will never have another music retailer like it.

- DJ Badger

[By the way... I stumbled onto for the first time today. This is an excellent site!]
I can recall the time Fanzine did a gig in the corner of Mohawk Music. Great place and people!
As a teenager in Muskogee, I used to drive to Tulsa, just to shop at Peaches for the records I couldn't find back home. And shopped while proudly wearing my KMOD t-shirt, of course.

And yes, I still have a Peaches crate somewhere in my closet. Back in the day, it held LPs. I think there are shoes and electronic parts in it now.

I worked at Sound Warehouse in OKC in the early 80's and Buttons was actually a division of Sound Warehouse, it was mainly meant to be a electronics outlet but never completely evolved into that. The OKC and Tulsa stores were changed to Buttons when Peaches closed the Oklahoma stores.

The big push behind Buttons was the owner, it was his baby. He was killed in a car wreck in the fall of 1983 and when his wife took over she did not have the same vision behind Buttons that he did and eventually closed them. The one in OKC is now an Akins Health store.

She eventually merged with the owner of the Dallas franchise stores, then they sold out to another company, which sold out to Blockbuster.
I worked at the very last Peaches Records and Tapes store to open in Tacoma Washington in 1978. "Boston" did our gala grand opening and what a time of extravagance it was.
After Peaches, I got into the radio business but will always be thankful to Neil Heiman and Peaches, to have launched my "Music" biz career when the business was still enjoying good times. Man, how much the game of music, both retail, and on the radio has truely changed.

Dwaine Luna
Currently in Cincinnati
I remember my 16th birthday in 1977. I went to Peachs, and bought almost every Ted Nugent 8 track tape they had. The sales guy rolled his eyes!
Does anyone know if new Peaches T-Shirts are available anywhere? Man, I would love to have a few, even repros would be ok with me.
I loved the Seattle U-District store. It was the first place I headed when I turned 16 and got my drivers license. Kids today don't know what they are missing with record stores disappearing the way they are. Downloading music will never replace the magical experience of physically shopping in a record store.
The reason I had the thought of remembering Peaches, was yesterday when I came across a tshirt website that had peaches tshirts.
It is a shirt that Joan Jett is wearing.
I worked at Buttons from 87 to 1991. It was a great place to work for a HS kid! I would estimate Buttons lasted 10 years in that spot. It was interesting to note, even several years after it was Buttons people would still come in and say, "wasn't this Peaches just a few months ago?"

As I remember, there were only two Buttons stores -- one in Tulsa and one in OKC. The rest of the chain was Sound Warehouse stores. There may have been some relationship in the early years, but by the time I worked there, Buttons and Tulsa SW were separate entities.

Anyone else work there in my time frame??

We used to have Peaches in Cleveland,OH too...wonder if it's the same chain? I don't remember concrete squares around the building, but there were huge paintings of album covers hanging around the store. I have one of Billy Joel/52nd Street - it's probably 5x5 feet and nicely done! Anyone else have one or seen these around?
I have such great memories of Peaches... some of my best early memories were of my parents driving me and my brother downtown to the Atlanta Peaches, riding in their 70s van, covered from head to toe in deep shag carpet. Dad would play the 8-tracks (Tommy by the Who, Dylan, Stevie Wonder) loud and we'd just lay back and bliss out...

And I used to love to browse in Peaches with them. That's where I learned my love of record stores that continues to this day.

Thanks for the photos and memories!
Joey - There were only the two Buttons stores as you stated, I think someone bought the Tulsa store and ran it separately after Kay shut down the OKC store in the mid-80's.
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