When Brett Ruland was laid off from a graphic design job in early 2010, he turned to one of his other lifelong passions: record collecting. Opening Spoonful Records six months later, Ruland's shop has been a mainstay downtown retailer ever since. If you've ever shopped at the Long Street storefront, some of these might not surprise you. -Justin McIntosh
When Brett Ruland was laid off from a graphic design job in early 2010, he turned to one of his other lifelong passions: record collecting. Opening Spoonful Records six months later, Ruland’s shop has been a mainstay downtown retailer ever since. If you’ve ever shopped at the Long Street storefront, some of these might not surprise you. —Justin McIntosh
Upper Cup Coffee’s Honduras Medium
Until four years ago, I really didn’t know much about coffee. But we opened the record store and Upper Cup opened shortly after and I stopped going to Starbucks and started breezing into Upper Cup every morning on my way to work. Because they brew the beans they roast and tell you what drip coffee you are getting, I started figuring out what roasts and beans I prefer. Eventually, I started really developing a taste for beans of a certain origin and have landed on the Honduras Medium as my current fave. My wife [Amy] got me a grinder for my birthday, and so I also buy the whole bean by the pound and make it in the French press every morning. It’s a staple.
Levent Isik’s Superman
I studied art at CCAD and worked at CMA for 12 years, so it’s really important to me to be surrounded by cool works of art. [Amy and I] went to a gallery opening of Levent Isik’s works at RAW Gallery in October and were blown away by his comic elements, protruding eyeballs, bright colors and playfulness. We bought “Superman” because it has these neat layers of buildings built up on the surface of the painting and because it’s inspirational and makes us smile. I love getting up in the morning and looking at it and feeling ready to face the day.
Badfinger, Straight Up
Released in December of 1972, the third album by this British band continues to totally blow me away. Producers George Harrison and Todd Rundgren’s influence cannot be mistaken. Straight Up is full of great power-pop songs and beautiful harmonies. I love “I’d Die Babe” by Joey Molland, and “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue,” by Pete Ham. The tragic end to the band also fuels my passion for the album, as there are elements and lyrics that seem to point to the suicides to come.
“Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure”
I got into pinball in 2009 when visiting the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and they had 10 games on display. Once or twice a week, we go out after work and play pinball at various locations. A favorite right now is Indiana Jones at Pointe Tavern. It’s this beautiful wide-body game with two ramps and a mini-playfield that you tilt with your flippers to prevent the ball from falling into the holes. You also get to kill Nazis, eat monkey brains and escape in a mine cart. If that’s not fun enough, there’s a six-ball multi-ball feature and a chance to pick the Holy Grail.
My dad, Frederick Sloop Ruland
Anyone who’s been to the record store has likely met him. He’s a retired statistician, and when I opened the store, he just started showing up every day to help out. These days, he’s in the back, cleaning and pricing records five days a week. At 73 years of age, he can tell you a lot about used Led Zeppelin records and which Pink Floyd albums come with posters. He often puts money into customers’ parking meters when they are about to expire, greets everyone who comes in, and helps people find parking on Record Store Day. I love my dad for joining me on this journey and putting his heart and soul into this venture.