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Originally published December 14, 2013 at 11:20 AM | Page modified December 14, 2013 at 11:54 AM

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Vinyl record ‘butcher shop’ pops up on Capitol Hill

Want to buy a pound of old vinyl LPs by Conway Twitty or the Everly Brothers? “Elpee’s Beat Shop,” on Capitol Hill, is selling records as if they were cuts of meat in a butcher shop.

Special to The Seattle Times

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When Chris Campbell was in college, he had a unique idea for a store: a vinyl shop that sells records by the pound.

For obvious reasons, the idea never took off, but Campbell remained wistful. Now the associate creative director of Seattle ad agency Creature, Campbell is getting a chance to see his idea become reality by turning the company’s Capitol Hill storefront into a unique pop-up.

“I realized that it wasn’t a good idea in real life but I still wanted to do it, and this was a good opportunity,” Campbell said. “I thought: ‘Why not realize my dream and make a record butcher shop?’ This is just a little temporary pop-up we’ll do through the holidays and then we’ll do something else.”

Creature — known for work with Seattle’s Best, JanSport and Hewlett-Packard — has used its storefront for other whimsical pop-up ideas, including a barbershop and fortune teller. Thanks to Campbell’s collaboration with co-workers Brian Bosworth and Christine Ogborn, Creature can add “record-store butcher shop” to the list.

The pop-up, at 1517 12th Ave., features a nifty window display with records in a glass case and a chalkboard listing the day’s “specials.” As if they were at a butcher shop, customers can choose between different “cuts” of vinyl: stew for 43 cents a pound, “prime beats” for $1.03 a pound and choice cuts for $1.46 a pound. With more than 1,000 albums on hand, there’s plenty of product. But what about the quality?

“In the stew heap, a lot of it is Conway Twitty,” Campbell said. “In the prime stuff there’s anywhere from Chaka Khan to Everly Brothers to Ronnie Laws.”

Five pounds is equivalent to about 10 records but don’t expect to choose which 10 you want.

“It’s kind of like opening a pack of baseball cards,” Campbell said. “It’s kind of a strange way to do it but very exciting.”

With very little fanfare Creature opened “Elpee’s Beat Shop” Friday but thanks to foot traffic and word-of-mouth had sold about 60 pounds through Friday afternoon. The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and is also open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. four Saturdays — today and Dec. 21, Jan. 4 and 11.

At some point next month Creature will feature something completely different, but until then, Campbell gets to live his college dream for a little longer.

Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails

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