King Theodore Records plans to open storefront in Ashland

Owner Jesse Slade fulfills his lifelong dream by opening his own record store.

Graphic by Lars Van Zandt

Century Tattoo of downtown Ashland will soon be the home of a new record shop, King Theodore Records. The two businesses plan to share a space to draw in more customers and expose them to their respective artforms.

King Theodore Records plans to open its doors on June 12, National Record Store Day. The shop is located at 100 E. Broadway in Ashland inside of Century Tattoo.

Opening his own record shop has been a lifelong dream of owner Jesse Slade, who has been in the record-selling industry for over six years. He has been hooked on buying and selling vinyl records since purchasing a Michael Jackson record at age 13.

Listening, learning and exploring the realm of music was never just a pastime for Slade. He knew it was more than a hobby; it was a part of his identity.

“Music is just a part of me,” Slade said. “It always has been.”

Slade has been surrounded by music ever since his parents played a Bob Dylan song during his birth. He recalls his childhood being filled with music constantly playing in the background at home, most notably Joan Baez albums.

“It was more of the music culture my parents brought me up in and teaching me the importance of music that means something instead of just listening to whatever is popular,” Slade said about his parent’s role in shaping his love for music.

The idea of pursuing a career in music or records was always Slade’s goal. When Lars Van Zandt, friend and owner of Century Tattoo, approached him with the idea to set up a shop inside of the tattoo parlor, Slade showed no hesitation. He immediately began planning for the record shop, named after Slade’s beloved corgi.

“We hope that it will bring more visibility to the shop,” Van Zandt said. “And allow Jesse a space to grow his own dreams.”

Slade says the commercial space is a prime location, as many Missouri residents are moving south to Ashland and the city is planning to expand.

Slade has greater aspirations than simply pursuing his hobby for a living. His goal is to inspire and educate customers through the varied records he plans to carry, such as jazz, hip-hop and social justice-themed albums. Slade not only views himself as a business owner but as a tool to help educate the community.

“I want to have a space where people can come learn about new music without being judged,” Slade said.

Additionally, Slade and Van Zandt hope that opening King Theodore Records will improve the overall economy and elevate the culture of Ashland. Slade plans to buy and sell records at a fair rate in order to attain this goal.

“I personally hope King Theodore brings good vibes and loud jams,” Van Zandt said. “Vinyl has a sound all its own and if we can help folks discover that, I would be very content.”

For more information and updates about King Theodore Records, visit the shop’s Facebook page:

Edited by Angelina Edwards |

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