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Motorcycle crashes spur Lincoln man to open record store
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Motorcycle crashes spur Lincoln man to open record store

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Two motorcycle accidents in the span of a few months changed the course of Rich Tuttle's life.

He had spent the past 12 years working at a pizza restaurant, but he had to have shoulder surgery after the second accident, and he no longer felt like he could do the work required.

As he was considering what kind of a job he could or would want to do, he thought to himself, "I've got all these records around, let's open a record store."

Tuttle, who's lived in Lincoln his whole life, said he's been collecting records, cassette tapes and CDs for several years.

Much of it has just been one at a time, but he said he's also bought collections from others, including more than 3,000 records from a collector in Missouri that he found on Craigslist.

Tuttle said he worked on the idea of a record store on and off for about a year and a half but got serious about it after visiting a cousin in Augusta, Georgia, who owns one.

"I said, yeah, I need to do this," he said.

Tuttle and his wife, Tammy, looked at a number of locations.

They thought about opening in Havelock but decided not to because almost all of the remaining record stores in Lincoln are on the north side of town.

They almost pulled the trigger on a location in the Haymarket, but then found a vacant space in the Stuart Building that seemed perfect.

Freedom Rock Records opened Sept. 28, the day of the Nebraska-Ohio State football game.

Tuttle said business on that first day was "awesome," but it's been hit-or-miss since.

"We're still testing the waters," he said on things such as hours and product mix.

Tuttle's shop at 134 N. 13th St. has hundreds of records, tapes and CDs, as well as a limited selection of movies and video games.

It's a combination of used items from his personal collection, as well as new items he gets through a distributor. He also sells posters, banners and other music- and movie-related merchandise and memorabilia.

Tuttle also decided to stock some musical instrument accessories, such as guitar picks, straps and strings, after hearing from some local bars that there's no place downtown for bands to replace those items if something breaks or is lost.

His music selection runs the gamut from Metallica to Alice in Chains to Barenaked Ladies to Justin Bieber.

He also carries plenty of obscure artists as well. In fact, Tuttle said his most popular item so far is music by Tomb Mold, a Canadian heavy metal band.

"I can't keep it in stock," he said.

Downtown, which has been home to numerous record stores over the years, has been without one since March of last year, when Black Circle Records closed after 18 months in business at 100 N. Ninth St.

Todd Ogden, president and CEO of the Downtown Lincoln Association, said Freedom Rock Records is "the exact kind of business that we are looking for to be a part of downtown."

"There’s so much energy in the core area, and it is vital for 13th Street to have an anchor shopping tenant," Ogden said in an email.

He pointed out that a recent update to the Downtown Master Plan calls for a music district focused around the 14th and O streets area.

"What better business could we have than a record store right in the heart of the district," Ogden said.

Tuttle is planning a grand opening for the record store Oct. 19, the day of the Bob Dylan concert at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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