50 years later, Electric Fetus still a destination for Minneapolis music lovers

It's been a gathering place for music lovers and the Twin Cities' counterculture since 1968, and even though technology has changed substantially in that half-century the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis has always seemed to play the right tune for its customers.

The record shop hosted a 50th anniversary party this weekend, complete with First Avenue show and rotating cast of high-profile customers who stopped by to celebrate the occasion.

"To me, it’s as historic in Minneapolis as anything else," said Marc Percansky while perusing the Electric Fetus' extensive collection of vinyl Sunday afternoon. "When I leave--About an hour after I leave--I figure there’s something I want to go back for."

It was even a favorite for Minneapolis superstar Prince, who used to be a regular. Now, people flock to the store in an effort to walk in his footsteps.

"He would get the things he liked and people would let him shop in peace. That was important," said Bob Fuchs, the Fetus' retail and music manager. "Now we get quite a few people almost daily coming in from around the country and around the world to see the places Prince visited regularly."

The spacious record shop at the corner of Franklin and 4th Avenues in Minneapolis has lived through some of the most tumultous times in the music industry, losing revenue with the advent of streaming services but buoyed in recent years by a renewed interest in vinyl. 

"Once the internet thing started happening, with Amazon and iTunes, it really changed the game. We saw sales drop by as much as 50 percent and we thought well this is the end of the ride." Fuchs said. He was pleasantly surprised to see the business not only survive those tough times, but thrive into the internet age. "In maybe the year 2000 one percent of our sales were LPs, and currently it’s 50 percent of our sales."

For regulars like Percansky, it's important to support the store that's been there over the years with old favorites and new tunes alike. He, along with many others, is hoping the store can survive another 50 years, but understands the odds facing an old-fashioned record shop in the 21st century.

"If we’re on our game you hope to be around a while, but there’s always another challenge so you just never know with this business," Fuchs said.