Posted June 26, 2008 in Feature Story

Just over 25 years ago, John Stout bid farewell to the corporation in which he had climbed the ranks into a comfortable management position, and instead launched his own enterprise. After some five-plus years of service with Wherehouse Music, the company cut Stout a profit-sharing check—and that bread was his golden ticket to self-sufficiency. Merging the two things he was most passionate about—records and visual art—with his training in retail management, Stout left the company and founded the aptly-titled Stoutboy in 1983, setting up in the Claremont Village. Stout’s dual-purpose, one-man shop opened its doors, catering to the sale of largely rare and used records (many of which were from his personal collection), yet it also offered custom framing services for art, posters and memorabilia. Today, Stoutboy has become nothing short of a local institution, even amidst the increasingly competitive climate from online retailers like eBay, not to mention the severe downturn in overall music retail sales. Still, his 360-square foot operation perseveres, as custom framing has since become his primary business (which includes conservation matting and vacuum mounting services), handling both his regulars (namely his fellow baby boomers) and fresh clientele (read: students from the Claremont Colleges). Still, Stout admits, “the music part of it, I can’t let go. I still get excited when a high school kid or college kid comes in and buys some vinyl. It just gives you faith that it’s not over yet!” (Waleed Rashidi)


Stoutboy, 366 W. 4th St., Claremont, (909) 621-1960



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