Cincinnati's Oldest Record Store, Mole's Record Exchange, is Closing

The record store will close permanently on June 3, just shy of its 49th anniversary.

May 22, 2023 at 12:32 pm
click to enlarge Mole's Record Exchange owner Dean Newman - Photo: facebook.com/Mole's Record Exchange
Mole's Record Exchange owner Dean Newman

A Clifton store that’s been selling music and providing happy memories for many since 1974 is shutting its doors for good next month.

On Facebook, Mole’s Record Exchange, Cincinnati’s oldest record store, said it will be closing permanently on June 3, just shy of its 49th anniversary.

“We are confirming the rumors.... Mole's Records (& CD Exchange) will be closing after nearly 49 years,” the business wrote on May 19. “RIP Mole's as we'll be giving up our title of Cincinnati's Longest Playing Record Store. The Time's they have a-changed.”

In a blog post, Mole’s Record Exchange employee Ric Hickey explained the closing is due to the University of Cincinnati’s expansion onto Calhoun Street where the record store currently sits. Owner Dean Newman reportedly found out the building next to his had already been sold and a large construction project was set to take place there over the next few years.

Hickey says Newman didn’t believe the business would survive the project, as it would obstruct access to the block Mole’s Record Exchange is on and eliminate parking, and decided to sell.

“More student housing and parking lots will replace the iconic two block stretch of Calhoun near UC. Way to go, Ohio,” Hickey wrote.

The sadness that comes with Mole’s Records closing is palpable from Hickey’s blog and in the comments left on the store’s Facebook page, with many reminiscing about the time they spent in the store looking for and buying records.

“No other store ever came close to the Mole’s vibe. Other stores were bigger, maybe had a better selection, or had the fortune of being located in a hip and trendy neighborhood. But Mole’s is, was and forever shall be everything a record store was meant to be,” wrote Hickey. “Regardless of your age or taste in music, if you wandered into Mole’s you would find something to your liking 99% of the time. … Mole’s was always a store with character and characters.”

Mole’s Records says it will have a goodbye party on its final day, Saturday, June 3.

Mole’s Records, 111 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights. More info: facebook.com/Mole's Record Exchange.


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