The beginning of a new chapter: Lilliput Records Grand Opening

Holy+Pinto+gears+up+to+play+a+set+at+Lilliput+Records.

Photo by Emily Bittman

Holy Pinto gears up to play a set at Lilliput Records.

The Exclusive Company record store officially closed its doors to the public on July 28. Music-lovers around Milwaukee thought that this would be the end of this east side record store, but really, it is just the beginning of a new chapter. 

August 19 marked the official grand opening of Lilliput Records on the east side of Milwaukee. Owners Tanner Musgrove and Brian Kirk began as employees of the Exclusive Company, but upon hearing the news that the  record store was closing for good, the two made a pact to keep the store going.

Musgrove and Kirk crowdfunded in order to purchase the Exclusive Company’s inventory and to keep the same storefront building. Their goal was to preserve the dream of Exclusive Company founder and president, James “Mr. G” Giombetti.

The store’s mission is to be “a community based space” where “people can escape to and not only get mainstream top 40 artists, but also lesser-known musicians from independent labels who are the backbone of keeping our industry alive” according to Lilliput’s “Side B” zine by Moody. 

In honor of Lilliput’s grand opening, I went to check out the new space and catch some live musical performers.

Upon entering the store, themes of the Exclusive Company remained prominent: Posters of bands and artists lined the windows to the entryway and a red, buzzing neon sign stating “OPEN” welcomed customers at the door. The most noticeable change was a sparkling white “Lilliput Records” logo painted on the glass.

Walking inside instantly made me feel at home. The same Exclusive Company shelves of records stretched from the cashier machines all the way to the windows at the back of the store. However, a freshly-painted “Lilliput Records” mural adorned the back wall above a small stage. The mural almost appeared to look like a vinyl record itself — an orange oval surrounded by black paint. 

I enjoyed flipping through stacks and stacks of new and used vinyls, but I ultimately decided to purchase a rare King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard album, “Live in San Francisco ‘16.” I also picked up a brown T-shirt with a green Lilliput logo and a zine created by Moody, a bi-monthly zine publication.

Lilliput hosted festivities all weekend from Aug. 19-21. Friday featured craft beer from local brewery, Component Brewing Co. On Saturday, artists Holy Pinto, Cabin Essence and Blue Unit performed live in the store for customers and other patrons. The weekend-long raffle concluded on Sunday. With every purchase, shoppers were given free raffle entries.

The store hopes to continue collaborating with local artists, businesses and creators to “give back to the community that has given so much to [them].” To support Lilliput Records, visit their store at 1669 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee, Wis. or online at lilliputrecords.com.

This story was written by Emily Bittman. She can be reached at emily.bittman@marquette.edu.