Sonic Boom, the Annex music store famed for its large selection and elaborate window displays, is being forced out of its old space on Bloor Street so a dollar store can move in. Now, in a fitting bit of turnabout, it’s opened a second location in a vacant space in Kensington Market that was most recently—yes—a dollar store.
“It’s kind of ironic,” said Matt Flook, vinyl manager for the original store, who will also be managing the Kensington location.
The dollar store Sonic Boom is replacing was called Buck’s Life. It was run by a couple of nice Iraqi guys until 2009. The place had an awesome two-for-a-dollar deal on cold cans of Coke that will probably never be matched in this era of rising rents. But on the bright side, Kensington dwellers now have a music-buying option to compete with Paradise Bound, the used music and book store that previously had a corner on the Market’s market. (Well, to be perfectly fair, there’s also a guy with dreadlocks who sometimes sells vinyl on the sidewalk, out of milk crates.)
The new Sonic Boom is located a short walk north of Dundas Street, at 201 Augusta Avenue. The store is about the size of an average boutique, and it will function as a kind of satellite location for the original, big box–sized Sonic Boom, which will itself be moving at the end of the month to a new space on the Bathurst Street side of the Honest Ed’s complex. Sonic Boom is being ousted from its Bloor Street location so their landlord can rent the place to Dollarama.
A wall display inside the store.
The Kensington location will sell non-digital music exclusively—meaning vinyl, mainly, and cassette tapes. “All the records in this store we’ve been saving for a year or so, knowing we were going to open a store in Kensington,” said Flook. “We’ve been sifting aside cool records as we’ve priced them, so it’s pretty explosive.” We were speaking on the stoop of the store, where we’d retreated to escape the drone of a circular saw that a worker inside was using to build some kind of furniture.
The place is still partially under construction, but if you don’t mind the sawdust, you might find some good stuff for your collection. If you’ve got a collection.
Flook sees the opening as the start of a long relationship between Sonic Boom and Kensington. “We’re hoping that this strip throughout the years might become a little more built up,” he said. “There’s a lot of vacancies here.”
Photos by Eric Yip/Torontoist.