Skip to content
The Record Store

The Record Store: Veteran Owner Tells Us the Only Way to Collect

In this series launch, we’re profiling Main Street Jukebox in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Tom LeFevre, Owner of Main Street Juke Box. (All photos credited to Liza Lentini.)

“I found this old SPIN magazine from December 1989 [featuring Artist of the Year Faith No More]…and no more than a half an hour goes by and you called,” Tom LeFevre tells me, of the weird coincidence before my initial inquiry to his store, Main Street Juke Box, seeking an interview.

An hour from my mountain home outside New York City, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania’s Main Street Juke Box is keeping the old-school independent record store tradition alive and proud, complete with store windows plastered with flyers for local events and faded classic album covers. Through the door and winding around the wide front counter, there are tall stacks of records (presumably to be filed), a collection of magnets, featuring both James Brown’s and Axl Rose’s mugshots, the counter’s front collaged with more classic covers, from The Stones’ Goats Head Soup to Popeye’s Songs About Health, Safety, Friendship & Manners. A red and black Public Enemy poster covers a mysterious back-room door. Under the cash register, a sign reads: “No refunds. All Sales final.”

My first experience there was impressive, to put it mildly. My boyfriend and I were on the hunt for the somewhat rare Blows Against the Empire (technically credited to “Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship”). It wasn’t on the floor, but Charley Pishnick, Tom’s brother-in-law and co-worker for 16 years – also a die-hard Michael Myers/Halloween fan – disappeared momentarily and came back with the album in hand. We hung around for a while, admiring the array of jazz and hip-hop vinyl, I chatted with Charley about his Michael Myers forearm tattoo, and which of the franchise’s films he likes the most. 

Located walking distance from nearby East Stroudsburg University, Main Street Jukebox is celebrating 30 years in business in 2024, the past 18 in its current location after an arson fire destroyed its previous location across the street.

Tom’s not sure how many records the current 2,000-square-foot location houses, but it’s a tightly organized sea of vinyl albums, CDs, 45s, and cassettes. There’s a giant shelf full of anthologies right next to another shelving unit loaded with VHS tapes. “It’s definitely on an upswing, for sure,” Tom says, of the record store business. “Everybody’s buying vinyl again.” And of cassettes and their recent resurgence, he says: “Young kids, it’s all new to them. Some of these young kids never even had CDs. These CDs are new to them and I see a lot more kids buying CDs again, too.” 

After working at a record store through college – as a criminal justice major – he and a friend pooled their money to open a store together. “30 years later, I still love it,” he says. “That means something.” 

After paying a meager $3.00 for the aforementioned Blows Against The Empire, it had us thinking about collecting and “worth.”

Tom says the key is to collect what you like. “[If] it moves you like music moves me, that’s something, that means something. You should hold onto that. You know how songs and things can take you right back to a certain place in your life? You know what I mean? That’s what music’s all about. It’s not about the money. Really.”

Except, in the world of collecting, sometimes it is about the money. When I went in to take some photos I asked a final question: What is the rarest record in your store?

“We were just talking about that!” Tom says, casually. “It’s the Butcher Cover.” 

The “Butcher Cover” is the famed Beatles album Yesterday and Today which, when first issued, features the group smiling joyfully, wearing butchers’ smocks and “decorated” with raw meat and baby doll parts. The album was hastily recalled and re-issued with a more conventional cover picture. This is one of the most sought after, and controversial, record covers of all time.

“Can I see it? Where is it?” I asked.

“Not sure, I think it’s in a pile somewhere,” Tom says, motioning to the left side of the store. Charley shakes his head in agreement, woefully. 

“Do you want me to dig it out?” Tom asks. “It could take some time.”

Tom with Charley Pishnick.

SPIN: How do you find your records? Do people donate to you ever?

Tom: I’ve definitely had people donate stuff, for sure. People are just cleaning out and don’t want it anymore and just be like, “Hey, would you take these?” As long as they’re not water damaged or moldy or anything like that, I’m like, “For sure.” Other than that, though, since I’ve been around so long, people know that I buy records, so they’re always bringing them through. Anywhere that I see records, I’ll stop. If I hear something for sale, I’ll go.

Most expensive record you’ve ever sold?

I don’t remember specifically, but some Blue Note Jazz records for hundreds of dollars. Oh, there’s definitely stuff out there. You just have to find the right people that are collectors.

Over the years I found some people that only want expensive first press records. $500 more or something like that price range usually is really high. There’s also some metal records that go high, too.

The rarest?

The Beatles, Yesterday and Today (“The Butcher Cover”)

A photo of Keanu Reeves wearing a Main Street Juke Box T-shirt hangs on the store’s wall.

Who’s the most famous person who ever came into your store?

Keanu Reeves. He was so cool. Such a nice guy. Boy, that blew up when he was in the store. He came in and he was just he wanted to buy a shirt from the shop. I was like, “Yes, for sure.” I just gave him one. Then he wore it on stage that night for the show [at the Sherman Theater, last October] which was just so amazing, because so many pictures of him wearing our shirt everywhere.

Your first concert?

1983, Def Leppard, Pyromania tour. At the Allentown Fairgrounds, I believe.

Favorite album?

Just one right off the bat would be like that when I was just talking about that Faith No More record [The Real Thing]. You know, that was the end of the ’80s and everything was changing and that was just like one of those records that really changed me.

Advice for someone who wants to open a record store?

It’s got to be a passion. It’s not a get-rich thing. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of hustling. You’ve got to work deals, you’ve got to find deals, and you’ve got to be dedicated to it, for sure. I think a lot of people think opening up your own business is an easy thing. “Oh, I’ll just work for myself and it’ll be easy,” but definitely not. [laughs]