Monday, September 25, 2023

Vinyl, CDs, cassettes…Mississauga’s Chewzzit Music carries music in all formats

“It’s advertising, in a fun way,” George Turanski says of the YouTube videos he makes to promote Chewzzit Music. Photo: YouTube

Step into Chewzzit Music – situated in the Fantastic Flea Market, on the bottom floor of Dixie Outlet Mall, 1250 South Service Rd. in Mississauga – and you’ll find not only a broad range of vinyl, CD’s, cassettes, 8-tracks, 45’s, band T-shirts, posters, and patches and other rock paraphernalia – but the comical red-lipped Chewzzit logo, a disco ball, lava lamp, and free raisins and Tootsie Pops.

“(I’m) just having fun with it,” muses owner George Turanski.“(And especially since Covid), people want to come and socialize, and talk music. I even jam with some of my customers.” They also gravitate to his regular specials – currently including a big rack full of $1CD’s (with titles like The Wallflowers’ “Bringing Down The Horse”).

Two tables of 45’s (buy one for $2, get one free), vinyl albums for as cheap as $2, and a section selling three CD’s for $20.“You’ve got to bring them in. Everybody needs some skin on the bone. I don’t mind, I’m not greedy,” says the pony-tailed Montreal native, who cites, “a big uptick” in business over the past year. Rarities here range from gold-coloured CD’s, to a Cheech & Chong album with rolling papers tucked inside, to autographed records (including a David Bowie item, which sold for $200).

An Etobicoke resident, “Guitaraoke George” promotes his stall with zany online videos, played on a mini guitar.“It’s just advertising in a different way,” he laughs. He attributes the resurgence in record collecting to the fact that, “It makes you feel young. It’s an emotional thing. I think that’s why it has sort of made a comeback. When somebody you grew up with, like (Rush drummer) Neil Peart dies, you mourn.”

He reports that among the younger generation, “cassettes are happening”. “But vinyl is still No. 1,” he adds. “And people dig all the things that come with vinyl – the different-coloured records, and the sleeves.”

And while pundits predict CD’s are on the way out in the digital era, he finds they’re still doing well. “At least with the CD you can listen to it in your car, and you still get the art work,” he comments. “(And) the quality of CD’s is way better than something you download.”

Over the years, Turanski has been a gigging musician, an aircraft mechanic, a personal trainer, has run a pet shampoo business, and has served as a private investigator/executive protection provider — while splitting time between Toronto, California, and Florida. He has also composed a 32-song musical (he brands as “Jethro Tull meets ‘Les Miserables’”), plans to shoot a music-related short film, and hopes to soon record some of his originals.

“I’ve always been into music,” he adds, “writing my own songs, and going to SamThe Record Man to check out the Chum Chart (as a kid). ”Chewzzit Music buys, sell, and trades records. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in the Fantastic Flea Market (Ontario’s longest-runningflea market), and there’s plenty of free parking.