The idea for Zzz Records was conceived in the late 1990s. After Archives Records closed its doors in 1995, Des Moines was without a vinyl-friendly independent store for many years. Convinced that there was still a market for records in Des Moines — and sick of having to drive two hours to buy them — we decided to open up a store that featured an eclectic mix of rock & roll, indie rock, electronica, jazz, country, and more.
Less than a year after opening, Des Moines city officials declared that many buildings in our area were in danger of being demolished in favor of a “gateway park”. The idea for the park was pushed hard by Allied Insurance, who was planning a new headquarters just across the street from our store. Allied’s plan called for the removal of many historic buildings, including: the AIB building, the Masonic Temple, and the Arlington-Hallett, among others.
Preservationists in the area fought the proposal and were able to help save a handful of buildings in the area, including the Masonic Temple. However, local Masons decided to sell the building at the end of 2001; thus, we were suddenly scrambling to find a new home.
In the 2010s, we have had many fun events, including hosting the Third Man Rolling Record Store (twice!), an in-store DJ performance by Sylvan Esso, a meet-and-greet with Johnny Winter, and many Record Store Day events. We also grew the Des Moines Music Collectors’ Show and moved it to a larger venue downtown. We look forward to more surprises and many more years with you!