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5 Questions with Don Radcliffe, Ella Guru Record Shop Owner

The record store quietly returned to the North Druid Hills-Briarcliff area in November. Here are five questions for its owner.

Ella Guru Record Shop has been around this part of town before. First opened in the Vista Grove shopping center in the late 1990s, it then moved to the Toco Hills Promenade, expanded in 2007, moved to Inman Park later that year, closed in 2009 but has now resurfaced in Oak Grove.

Now located on Lavista Road in the shopping center with Beer Growler Nation and other shops, Ella Guru is back and ready to satisfy the demands of anyone looking for that old-school vinyl sound.

Owner Don Radcliffe answered five questions from North Druid Hills-Briarcliff Patch.

Q: What attracted you to reopen in the North Druid Hills-Briarcliff area?

A: We'd known the Kontoes family for a long while. They own Evans Fine Foods, over at North Decatur and Clairmont, and bought this center about 10 years ago. They're terrific people and told me that if this little space opened up, they'd like to see something different and interesting in there. I closed my retail shop back in 2009 and had gone back and forth about taking another shot at it. This space is small, inexpensive and the center is just buzzing right along these days. The Kontoes guys have done a great job. We've lived in the Leafmore neighborhood for 20 years and it's been their hard work that has really transformed this little intersection.

Q: How has the community received you so far?

A: The response has been very good so far. I have had many former customers drop by in person or on Facebook to welcome me back even though a lot of them don't buy vinyl LPs any more. Some of their children have started to, though, which is wonderful.

Q: What is one of the coolest things you've seen in the store?

A: Right now I can't decide what's been cooler: parents in here buying [Bob] Dylan, [Jimi] Hendrix or Beatles LPs for their parents, or parents in here buying Dylan, Hendrix or Beatles LPs for their kids!

Q: What is your favorite record?

A: [That's] like picking a favorite kid, and you have thousands of kids. Three I've played for 30-40 years and I could never possibly tire of: Joni Mitchell's 1976 LP Hejira, Elvis Costello, Get Happy!! and Nick Drake, Pink Moon. And just in case that makes everyone thing all I listen to is ancient pasty white-people music, I am also pretty fond of Funkadelic's Maggot Brain and pretty much Prince's entire whole body of work.

Q: What do you plan to do in the near future with the store?

A: [The] store is probably going to stay used vinyl-only for a while. We will possibly add some new release vinyl in time. They are expensive and there's not much profit margin. CD's: [I] just don't know. There are plenty of people still buying them, but I have some space issues in this little 450 square foot shop. I am trying to rustle up a few well-kept vintage turntables for the many people who've already asked about them. Stand by!

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