We love meeting shop owners through the community and also through discovery of our organization, it continues to show how how important it is to share these stores. Heather Hahn is owner of Lantern Records, the only women owned record shop in Washington State who reached out to let us know about what she’s doing, we’re so glad she did. She is also a DJ and runs an all inclusive online record group. Identifying as queer, ‘it’s important to me to make sure people know my shop is a safe space and made for everyone’.
When not running a record store she is a full time Mortgage Loan Officer who loves being able to find people homes. She also continues to be involved in her community by siting on the Creative District committee for Olympia, Washington. “I’m excited to be part of an artist revitalization in our city”.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
I stated collecting records again when my Dad passed away, twelve years ago. I’ve always wanted a shop and venue. After the closure of so many all ages places in my town due to covid, I felt the time had to be now. Music saves, without it I feel like life is so less livable.
What is a day in the life like?
Pricing, organizing, finding new music to bring into the area/shop, looking for new bands to grace our tiny window stage and media blitzing to get the word out
What has been your favorite sale / relationship made from behind the counter?
I love the stories about people’s parents. I’ve always met the best people because of music. Whether it be at shows or in the shop, record collectors are different. I like to say we feel our music differently. When that gets past down from parents to children, that’s what it’s about. Music gets us through the bad times and the good ones. Sharing that experience is what makes us human.
In your opinion what has been the coolest thing to come through your shop / the thing you had to keep / almost couldn’t put out for sale?
I’m from Chicago originally. When you come into the shop, you’ll see my Buddy Guy Legends lanyards and records. Those aren’t for sale but I keep them in the shop to remind me of my roots. Chicago Blues is so important to my life in so many ways. I love you Buddy! Thank you for keeping the blues alive in Chicago. I’m doing my best to honor music and artists out here now.
What has been the craziest experience that has happened at the shop?
The shows, hands down. We have an all acoustic stage set up. Think NPR’s Tiny Desk type thing. The musicians come in and improvise quite a bit. Each performance is so intimate. The audience gets to interact while the artists form their sets right there. It’s pretty magical. It’s better than I ever dreamed.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Don’t do it alone. Our shop is a coordinated effort of three, life long collectors. We work together to pull this off. Our shop has 3 very uniquely curated collections. That adds to our musical diversity and keeps it fresh for our costumers.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself?
Yes, of course! I’ve been collecting my entire life. My personal albums were ruined during a heat wave in a barn when I was a teenager. When my Dad passed, I found his albums and it ignited the flame again. Spinning his records made me feel like he was in the room with me just like when I was a kid. I had a rough childhood. I turned to music for so much. The blues and grunge music literally saved my life. There was something so reassessing about knowing I wasn’t the only one that suffered in situations out of my control.
Music saves might be cliché, but I’m living proof that it does.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Money, haha! I have so much stock I want to order, it’s hard to choose on a limited new shop budget.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
I love catering to a young crowd. Our shop has music from all genres and from around the world. It’s incredibly satisfying watching a younger person pick up a Japanese Psychedelic record with genuine interest in their eyes.
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Go to shows, pay for the merch, buy the albums. During covid our amazing musicians were restricted in their art. Now is the time to show them how appreciative we are to have them!
Anything else you want to share? If not, tell me: What is your favorite music genre or band right now?