MISSOULA - It’s an industry that keeps Missoula’s heart beating, an industry that keeps our weekends filled with plans.
It’s music, and whether you frequent the Missoula Symphony or you find yourself making weekly visits to the record shop, you’re probably in tune with Missoula’s music scene.
For Missoulians Collin Pruitt and Mike Steingberg, music has always played a role, but it wasn’t until six months ago that music began to take over.
“I wonder if I can make a living doing this…is that…is that a thing?” Pruitt often wondered the last 10 years as he and Steingberg collected and sold records out of a warehouse on Higgins Avenue.
To open a record store wasn’t a pressing goal for the two, but if the space above their warehouse ever became available, they’d give entrepreneurship a shot.
“We said that if it ever became available, we’ll open a record store,” recalled Steingberg.
After years of casual record seeking and selling, the space above their warehouse became vacant. The duo didn’t hesitate.
“We were like ‘okay, I guess we’re opening a record store,’” said Steinberg.
A nod to the infamous crisscrossed streets surrounding their shop, Steinberg and Pruitt named the business Slant Street Records.
With only 3,000 records, it’s the smaller selection and carefully curated collection that sets Slant Streets Records apart from Missoula’s other vinyl shops.
“People don't necessarily want to get on their knees and crawl around and try to find a single record that they're interested in buying,” explained Pruitt. “Sometimes you just want to be like, I want that, that, that and that…present a lot of options immediately.”
“There's a lot of specialty stuff, a lot of rare pressings, a lot of weird records that you might not find elsewhere,” echoed Steingberg.
Records that Steingberg and Pruitt spend serious time tracking down. Records like the 1957 Patsy Cline that made its way to Slant Street Records from deep in the BItterroot.
“This is pretty incredible right here,” said Steingberg, “This is the first press of Patsy Cline's first record and it's absolutely beautiful. It came from a collection out in Darby.”
But maybe it’s not Patsy you’re after. Maybe it’s Simon and Garfunkel, Springstein, or Steely Dan.
Maybe you’ll just know it when you see it because sometimes too much planning gets in the way.
“It just kind of fell into place and things like that happen sometimes,” said Pruitt. “And you best not question it, you just kinda roll with it.”
You can visit Slant Street Records at 1413 S Higgins Avenue, Monday through Saturday 11am to 6pm.