Tomorrow Records, now open at SE 7th and Hawthorne.
Tomorrow Records, now open at SE 7th and Hawthorne. Portland Mercury
A terrific new place to score vinyl has just opened up in inner Southeast Portland: Tomorrow Records is the brand-new shop from Kurt Legler, a longtime Portlander who spent many years at Everyday Music and helped open up the Northeast Sandy branch of that store. Legler has spent recent years in Santa Barbara, California, where he owned and operated the well-regarded Warbler Records shop—still in business—but has returned to his hometown with his wife to raise their two kids.

Their return is Portland’s gain: Legler’s new store is situated inside a welcoming, window-lit space at the easy-to-reach intersection of Southeast Hawthorne and 7th Avenue. The storefront is the former home of the Vitalidad Movement Center, which should give you some hint as to the airiness of the space, a refreshing change from the familiar cramped and littered record store we’re all familiar with. But the bins are already impressively full, even though Tomorrow Records has still technically only soft-opened (for example, they're still putting the finishing touches on the store's sign).

As of this moment, the bins are filled with a really good crop of used records, although they’ll eventually sell plenty of new releases, too: “We’re trying to have a good selection of quality used titles of all genres, and we’re building up our new stock right now,” says Legler. “We’re ordering some of the basics and then seeing what people are asking for. So we want the customers to complete the character of the store—we want to be the neighborhood record shop. And we’re pretty much into everything.”

The current stock is a solid, well-priced mix of established classics and more offbeat things, as well as ample copies of seminal works that typically don’t linger in the used bins for very long (think Brian Eno and Van Der Graaf Generator). There’s a decent selection of good dollar records, and impressive jazz and classical sections, as well as plenty of international, soul, folk, psych, prog, new age, and of course rock.

Tomorrow Records sells refurbished stereo equipment, too.
Tomorrow Records sells refurbished stereo equipment, too. Portland Mercury
I ask Legler if the store’s name has anything to do with the great English psychedelic band of the ’60s, and he says it definitely does, but also points out that by naming the store Tomorrow Records, he’s also hoping to reframe the idea of records as not simply the retro format of the past, but one of the future, too. But he’s interested in selling records the old-fashioned way, with hand-to-hand transactions. “I feel like there are those record stores that farm out their good stuff to the internet, and that’s kind of a bummer,” he says. “I like the kind of stores that actually put the La Monte Young box set out on the floor rather than put it on eBay.”

In addition to selling new and used vinyl, Tomorrow Records will buy your old records, and sells refurbished equipment to play all those records on, in addition to providing in-store repair for certain gear. Legler makes wooden units for home storage as well, and some of his handiwork is already for sale, with hopes to bring more of his custom storage options into the store soon.

But first and foremost, Tomorrow Records is a worthy addition to Portland’s record store scene, and has the goods to stand apart from a pretty crowded crop of fine places to score used discs. It’s open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, and Sunday from noon to 5 pm. You can follow them on Instagram, or better yet, drop in at 700 SE Hawthorne and check out the new store in person.

Portland Mercury