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A beautiful record store in Toledo, Ohio

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tim Friedman, and I have picked up the Culture Clash torch from our late friend Pat O'Connor. I knew Pat for a fraction of the time that he was making his impact on so many Toledoans, so many music-lovers, and so many of us who follow our own rhythm. Pat was an icon to a young man like me, whose unshakable dream has been to share a passion for music and for records.

Record stores have always been special to me. Growing up closer to Cleveland, I spent hours and hours between the walls of Music Saves, Bent Crayon, My Generation, and other music temples in the Midwest. Music Saves was a particular inspiration; the owner Melanie is infectiously welcoming and passionate; she helped shape my image of these essential post-”High Fidelity” small businesses. Record stores are a place for acceptance, for enthusiasm, for sharing art that makes us feel, makes us happy. Record stores provide the soundtracks for our lives.

After high school and a few years of full-time retail jobs, a good friend suggested I join him at BGSU. My dream to run a record store was persistent enough to guide me toward a degree in business administration. While in school, I landed a job at Bowling Green's Finders Records. Working part-time for a large, independent record store felt like the perfect complement to my business studies. The owner fueled an entrepreneurial spirit in me, but not an unreasonably competitive one. As a happy new resident of the Toledo area, I was already satisfied with my record store options and couldn’t imagine a new place could hold a candle to the existing legacies in Northwest Ohio. Meanwhile, my resulting student loans steered me into a thankfully rewarding career in market research.

In the last few years, I’ve found success at Critical Mix – an astonishingly supportive and remarkably well-regarded young global market research firm that’s been growing its operations hub in Perrysburg. I have found myself – to paraphrase Talking Heads – behind the wheel of a large automobile, in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife. And I found myself flipping through Pat’s record bins at Culture Clash more and more.

The winter months of early 2017 were tough. I spent more time with my own vinyl collection. I kept listening to songs like Mount Eerie's recent "Real Death," trying to make sense of a world without Pat. "Death is real. Someone's there and then they're not and it's not for singing about; it's not for making into art..." At times, I couldn't make it past the first verse of that song. Fortunately, I met Pat's wife in February and we clicked instantly. Now, fewer than five months since the news about Pat broke our hearts, I listen through the end of the song - and the end of the powerful album "A Crow Looked At Me" - and I find inspiration. "You were thinking ahead to a future you must have known deep down would not include you." Pat left behind his blueprint for his undeniably positive legacy and Culture Clash will always include him.

I come into this phase of my life with so much gratitude for the help and support I've had along the way. If I can be considered “lucky” to have this opportunity, my luck didn't start with Culture Clash. It started with my parents. With my sister. With my uncle John and aunt Cathy. My luck was enviable in November of 2013 when I tricked the best woman into being my lifelong teammate. My string of luck has delivered amazing friends and incredible in-laws. I’ll feel so lucky to introduce my perfect two year-old niece to record stores through Culture Clash.

I’m thrilled to tell you that, in May 2017, I'm flipping the Culture Clash record over and starting side B! It's the same album you've known, but the songs will take new shape. To hijack a lyric from The Mountain Goats, "So, this is what the volume knob's for." See you soon!