Sitting Down with our Friends at Music Millennium
In this series, Urban Nest sits down with local PDX business owners to talk shop about what makes their store or business fit so well with Portland. Learn about new neighborhoods, new businesses, PDX community and more!
1,000 Years of Music in Laurelhurst
If you haven't had a chance to visit this Portland icon, a massive two-story record store on East Burnside packed to the ceiling with records, CD's, Tapes, t-Shirts, accessories, and more, then it's time to mark your calendar for a trip to Music Millennium. Those who grew up will in the era of record stores will be pleased to know that Music Millennium upholds the traditional record store experience, with friendly staff that are happy to assist you in discovering new music that you might not have found otherwise. Learn more about the shop and it's close relationship with the Laurelhurst community in our interview with owner Terry Currier.
UN: How long have you been in business?
Music Millennium has been open since 1969. It opened on March 15th at 3 PM.
UN: What is unique about your business?
The store has always been community minded, when it started back then it was one of those community centers where people came to find out what was going on musically in the community and any shows that were coming up. A lot of people met good friends and spouses through appreciation for music.
We've always taken the approach of supporting, in particular, the local music community. Any artist can bring their product in the store to be sold. On 1989, the 20th anniversary of the store, we put in a stage, and started having 150 live performances a year. It's been a great opportunity for many local acts. In many cases, their first public performance space has been here, because its not always easy to get into the clubs when you're starting out. It also created an opportunity for the under 21 crowd to see local music.
UN: For you, what is most important about the customer experience?
I would hope that they walk away with some music that will be a life-altering experience to some extent. I always tell the staff, you’re here to create some "wow" moments for people by turning them on to great music they’ve never heard before.
In many ways we’re in the entertainment business, and music is one of those great things, like a universal language. If it hits you, it's bound to hit other people too.
UN: How would you describe the community that surrounds your business?
When music millennium started here, there wasn't much retail in this area. There weren't all of the restaurants on 28th and on Burnside. Regardless, the neighborhood has been really good about supporting the store, and in return we support events happening in the neighborhood. This can be anything from auctions to Feed the Homeless events and more.
One example is our annual customer appreciation barbecue, which is something that we do to give back to the community. We feed between 1,000 - 1,500 people and give door prizes to all attendants.
UN: What do you think makes your business a great fit for Portland?
I came to Millennium in '84, I had worked at another set of record stores 12 years previous. My objective with Music Millennium was to try to keep the vision alive. We were very rooted in "Old Portland". Our philosophy is to keep Portland unique, and thats why I think we fit here very well.
UN: What is your favorite thing about Portland?
I would pick the people. The city is changing now, and it has become this magnet that attracts people from all over the world, because a lot of people like the weirdness. But it's really the people that make up the city and what they do to make the city Portland or enhance the city.
UN: What part of town do you live in, and what do you love about it most?
This will surprise you, but I live in Vancouver. I'm so associated with Portland, everything I do has to do with Portland, or the state of Oregon, but I live in Vancouver, Washington. I bought a house there in 1976 at age 20, and I still live in that same house 41 years later. I was 20 and I needed an affordable house where I could play my records as loud as I wanted to, and that turned out to be Vancouver. Regardless, Portland is my home, and 90% of my life is lived in the city.