Blackbird Records and Operation Fandom will open a store in Medina this weekend
MEDINA, Ohio – A record store returns to local shopping deals in Medina this weekend, when Blackbird Records opens its third location in northeast Ohio on Friday, August 5.
The store will be twinned with its sister company Operation Fandom, which focuses on vintage toys and collectibles. It’s a similar layout to the company’s other two locations in Mansfield and Wooster, owner Josh Lehman said.
“Our mission has always been to bring in all the 70s, 80s, 90s retro, and keep going, whether it’s toys or music,” Lehman said. “When people come in, they appreciate the toys, the records, whatever’s in the room.”
Lehman first opened Operation Fandom in downtown Wooster in 2018, then took over its neighboring storefront in 2020 to open Blackbird Records. Later in 2020 he opened another location, combining Operation Fandom and Blackbird Records in the Mansfield storefront.
What prompted the new spot in Medina? Lehman said he had attended Medina Square events for years and was impressed with the city’s lineup and the consistent appeal to shoppers in his downtown neighborhood.
“We always try to go downtown, because of the architecture and the community vibe,” Lehman said. “We were always impressed with the number of people walking around – the hip and funky shops, but also how Medina has a real place to it.”
Additionally, Blackbird Records and Operation Fandom fill a gap in the city’s offering. Medina hasn’t had a record store since the Round Records of Medina and Ticketmaster run from 1979 to 1992, according to local researcher and historian Bob Hyde’s Local Business Historical Project”Beyond the windows.”
Lehman’s new concepts will take over from the former Ormandy’s Trains & Toys, located at 10 Public Square. The old DIY store has moved to a new Medina location around the corner.
“Coming here as a kid, I remember looking around and thinking, ‘What a great place,'” Lehman said. “It’s right on the plaza, it’s two sides and funnily enough we were almost about to sign a lease on another spot just off the plaza, and this one popped up.”
Blackbird Records and Operation Fandom’s Medina site is Lehman’s largest, with a wall in the middle to divide the two concepts. On the Operation Fandom side, expect vintage “Star Wars” action figures, sports autographs, “Pokemon” cards, and other collectibles. Over at Blackbird Records, expect a mix of new and used vinyl, cassettes, guitars, nostalgic concert posters and more.
While the three Blackbird stores have similarities in what they carry, they differ in the different toy or record collections that are showcased in Wooster, Mansfield and Medina, Lehman said.
“We expect collections to arrive here in Medina,” Lehman said. “Often the real collectors will visit all of our stores. There will be a different offer on vintage stuff; the same thing on the disk side. The selection used will always be different, always changing with things coming in and going out every day.
In addition to offerings from its Medina showcase, Blackbird Records and Operation Fandom plan to hold various events throughout the year to engage the Medina community. Lehman plans to invite guests from Hollywood for autographs and hold costume contests. It is also allowed to participate in Record Store Day next year as a certified retailer.
“We are very active. It seems that businesses in Medina are very interactive with each other,” Lehman said. “They’re just very active with the community, which we’ve tried to do with our other stores.”
And now Lehman will do it in Medina.
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