By Ramsey Khalifeh
Boston University News Service
For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Friends of the North End Library hosted the start of its speaker series about local businesses Oct. 19.
Coty Smith, the co-owner of Good Taste Records which opened physically in April, kicked off the series by presenting how the business began. Residents of the North End neighborhood attended, many of whom were older and regulars at the library branch.
In his talk, Smith emphasized the business’ beginnings and how the boom for vinyl records encouraged him and his wife to start selling music.
“We started to see that there’s a big trend in record stores and record ownership, to have this kind of antiquated technology,” Smith said.
Smith, before opening Good Taste Records, had a long history of DJing and record collecting. In the early 2000s when people in the music scene were tossing their physical music collections, he was buying them up.
Patrons of Good Taste Records and the North End Library attended the event to support the store and Smith. David Moss, who lives across the street from Good Taste, said he was happy to attend Smith’s talk.
“Their opening was my impetus to buy a record player,” Moss said, who is in his 40s.
He said he is proud to have a music store in his neighborhood to help grow his new collection and hopes to make connections with the music community.
Smith paid homage in his lecture to the music stores that came before him in the North End. In the 1960s, a man known as Eddie B. had a record store on Endicott street, selling soul 7-inch singles exclusively, and was dubbed “The Soul Man of the North End.” Smith also mentioned another store that used to operate on Hanover street called Tosi Music & Sporting Goods.
Community and music are at the forefront according to Smith and his wife Lindsey Smith — the other co-owner — when it comes to what Good Taste Records represents. One of their mission statements, as Smith put it, is to make the experience of going to a record store more accessible and open to anyone, regardless of their background.
Smith said Good Taste Records has added vinyl records in the North End Library for residents to be able to check out and listen to at home. Wednesday’s talk was not the first collaboration between the record store and the public library.
Catherine Halpin, the librarian of the North End branch of the Boston Public Library, said she was excited to see this collaboration come to life.
Halpin said that the Friends of the North End library helped fundraise programs for the library “This was actually their brainstorm to invite people who have opened businesses recently…in a way to support local business,” Halpin said.
After Smith’s presentation, the floor opened up for audience questions, and a spirited conversation on records, music and collecting ensued. As another gesture of community, Smith raffled out a $50 gift card to his store for one lucky guest in attendance.
Smith’s ultimate goal is to continue fostering the sharing of music for the North End.
“We didn’t want the barrier of entry to be very high,” said Smith. “We wanted it to be very friendly.”