Behind the Music: Purple Llama Records

Locals Only is excited to launch yet another new segment, Behind the Music! These short photo feature pieces aim to showcase the people and places that work “behind the scenes” to bring music into our lives, whether that be employees at a music venue, owners of record stores or organizers who book shows.

Purple Llama offers customers a unique selection of coffee roasters and vinyl records // By Nikki Roberts

Purple Llama, a joint coffee and record shop in Wicker Park, celebrated its one year anniversary on Saturday, April 21, which also happened to be Record Store Day.

Sig open doors
The vinyl record cafe opens its doors for patio season // By Nikki Roberts

“When [Purple Llama] first opened, we only had somewhere around 65 titles,” said music director and general manager Adam Hirzel. “That changed pretty quickly. No one really knew what was gonna work and what wasn’t, so it was smart to start small.”

A framed copy of Neil Young’s Crazy Horse serves as the inspiration for Purple Llama’s interior artwork // By Nikki Roberts

The most rewarding thing for me as a [music] buyer is to find something that I really want people to be exposed to. To see someone come in and go, ‘what is that?’ and I can say, ‘oh, it’s over here, we have that,’ and have them go home with it, that would make my week.

~Music buyer Adam Hirzel

Purple Llama boasts a small, carefully selected section of vinyl records // By Nikki Roberts

In addition to purchasing records for the store, Hirzel has also been part of a team that is working to launch Purple Llama’s subscription coffee and record service.

“In the same way we want to put coffee and records together in one location, this is just taking the idea of individual coffee subscriptions and vinyl record subscriptions and putting them together into one box for people,” said Hirzel. “It’s about taking what we do in the shop and offering it to people who don’t live in Chicago and maybe will never be able to come to this shop.”

Neon signs mark the division between the shop’s coffee bar and record store // By Nikki Roberts

“Coffee is always going to be a bigger part of this business because most people love coffee; not everyone buys vinyl records,” said Hirzel.

General manager Adam Hirzel sparks a conversation with a customer over coffee // By Nikki Roberts
patio close
Purple Llama’s patio seating allows customers to enjoy their coffee with good company // By Nikki Roberts

Purple Llama is located at 2140 W Division Street in Wicker Park.

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