Ragged Records and Trash Can Annie’s Reopen July 17 in New Downtown Davenport Spot
Most struggling businesses only had to deal with a global pandemic last year.
By the time of the mass shutdown in mid-March 2020, Ragged Records and Trash Can Annie’s in downtown Davenport were already closed about 42 weeks – forced out by the historic flooding in 2019. They’re finally ready to reopen at a new nearby building, 311 E. 2nd St., on Saturday, July 17.
“It’s been a dream come true,” Laura Heath – who owns TCA, the vintage clothing, styling and photography business – said this week of the totally renovated space formerly occupied by Abernathy’s, which moved in August 2019 to 432 W. 3rd St., Davenport. “We had a chance to rebuild and here is my true personality.”
She and Ragged Records owner Bob Herington (who were previously at 418 E. 2nd St.), by the Government Bridge, moved into the new location in June 2020, in the 1920s-era building
owned by Pete Stopulos of Ruhl Commercial, which was totally gutted and Stopulos built out the interior.
“It has all new HVAC, new flooring, new storage, dressing rooms, new bathrooms,” Herington said with pride. “It was just an empty concrete shell. He tore all the old windows off the front and put in new.”
Since spring 2021, the two businesses installed new counters, shelves and racks and fully stocked the place with a staggering variety of vintage (men’s, women’s and children’s) clothing, hats, accessories, and scrupulously curated vinyl albums (each hugged by clear plastic wrap). They were able to move and save nearly all their inventory before the downtown flood barriers breached at 3:30 p.m. on April 30, 2019.
With help from Geoff Manis and Chad Pregracke of Living Lands & Waters, Herington and Heath were able to get all their stuff moved to the second floor of the old building by 3 p.m., Herington said. “It was a sea of folding tables in there,” he said.
“We were hours ahead of everyone,” Heath said of saving their business, compared to some others downtown. “We were fortunate enough through Chad for Aaron Tennant to loan us two semi-trailers. Both he and Chad are such giving people and kind and helpful and just there. We had the availability for the semis. We did put some stuff in storage and dealt with it that way.”
Herington and Heath looked at many potential locations downtown to move, including at the former Daytrotter space in the Renwick building on 4th and Brady, and perhaps do a combination bar and record shop. “The more we thought about it, the money, and we don’t really know that business, we backed out,” Herington said. “We looked at several spots. We need a lot of space; we have the whole upstairs here. Finding a place downtown we could afford, that was big enough was difficult.”
Heath plans to open her photography studio on the second floor by end of this year, and Herington does the lighting.
“We work exceptionally well together, and it’s really nice because there are times when I can’t see the angle he can see,” she said. “With any
photographer, there’s so much that goes into making a great image. We come up with what the vibe is ahead of time.”
“We have found a lot of stuff to re-do the store,” Herington said, noting they got their counters at the front from the old Younkers at the mall.
When Covid happened, Heath had to come up with something creative to earn income, so she offered styling and fashion advice, as she’s done many years for film and stage productions. “People really do need help,” she said. “I offer services for styling for an event; I will go shopping with people. It has become an extension of what I do.”
Herington noted Ragged Records was closed a long time in Rock Island (311 21st St.), opening just for two days a week last fall, re-opening to full-time hours just July 5. “I couldn’t believe how much business we crammed into Fridays and Saturdays,” he said. Rock Island only was open eight months before the flood.
“It’s a labor of love,” Herington said of getting ready to open Davenport. “My wife will tell you, the amount of hours I put into doing this is ridiculous.”
The main retail space is 3,800 square feet, which is a little smaller than their old location, but the items for sale are organized much better here, he said.
“The old store, it was a warehouse store – I had folding tables and boxes,” Herington said. “It was a warehouse vibe. People crawled around and dug through stuff. Here, we built new racks and it’s definitely
more curated. It still holds a lot of stuff. I put out 30,000 new and used vinyl pieces.” There are also shelves in back with thousands of CDs.
The new store has about two-thirds the amount of Ragged inventory out, compared to the former space.
“We really feel like we stepped up our game to how it was, to how it is now,” Heath said. “This built was built in the late ‘20s as a flour distributorship for Pillsbury. That’s why it’s solid concrete, with flour being so volatile. It’s pretty cool on our end, because Bob and I had this vibe when we looked here, I call ‘bohemian industrial,’ because it is. You had to work with certain variables and others we chose how we wanted that to be. We wanted it to be a look that’s not around here.”
For both of them, they were a lot more selective in how they displayed inventory. Herington said in the old store, he’d try to get out his new vinyl right away and put boxes out.
Ragged first opened in 2008, at Trash Can Annie’s prior location on Brady Street in Hibernian Hall; TCA first started in 1978, and Heath took it over years later. Herington formerly owned Co-Op record stores in Peoria and East Peoria until 2005, and came to Davenport to do antique furniture restoration, opening at the building Heath was at. They moved to the East Second Street building in 2010.
“It worked out well until the flood,” Heath said. “The configuration it was, was all right, but this seems really organically perfect, on a lot of different levels. There are finally cool thongs happening downtown, and this section of the downtown is really gonna be pretty cool.”
The new Raccoon Motel (live-music venue) is scheduled to open next door by Aug. 1; Bootleg Hill Meadery and Half Nelson restaurant are down the block; there’s a distillery and smoking lounge across the street, and Great Revivalist Brewery is restoring the former Great River Brewery next to them.
Grand opening activities
Ragged and Trash Can Annie’s will celebrate their grand opening July 17 starting at 9 a.m. and normal hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays,
the same as Ragged Records in Rock Island (311 21st St.), which opened in 2018. Their street address in both locations is now also the same – 311.
Rock Island has a younger crowd because of Rozz-Tox next door, Herington said. “I’m hoping we can have two cool niches,” Herington said. For July 17, they’ll have two Record Store Days (as part of national Record Store Day) in one location, as it was for the June RSD. When they got to the Rock Island location at 6 a.m., there was already a line of about 20 people, he said. Heath said one year some people came out at 4:40 a.m.
Both RSD orders will be combined at the new location. That means twice the titles, so make sure to get in line early. The Rock Island location will be closed that day so the whole team can be at the grand
opening. RSD are primarily re-issues of existing records on vinyl, but sometimes include brand-new releases, Herington said.
No one is permitted to call in and hold records for later purchase; everyone must buy in person, and only one copy of an album per customer. His LPs range in price between $20 and $35 for new and $5 and up for used, depending on its rarity and popularity.
Author Jonathan Wright – a former Peoria Co-Op Records employee — will be on hand July 17 from 9 a.m. until noon, signing copies of his new book, “Punks In Peoria: Making A Scene in the American Heartland” (which includes interviews with Herington).
“It’s a history of central Illinois punk rock in the ‘80s and ‘90s, touches a little bit on the ‘70s – just more about DIY music in general,” Herington said, noting the book is published by University of Illinois Press.
The grand opening will include a Best Dressed contest (the prize is a $200 TCA gift certificate). To take part, purchase an item from Trash Can Annie, take a selfie with that item in the TCA Social Media Spot, post the photo and tag #trashcanannie78, #trashcanannie, or #TCAbestdressedcontest on Facebook and Instagram. The person with the most likes wins a $200 gift certificate.
“Showcase your coolest look and pose with confidence! Describe what you’re wearing and why you think
your look is a stand-out,” Heath said, noting this will be a fashion – not costume – contest.
“It is meant to generate an income after I’ve been closed for two years and two months,” she said. “I wanted to do something to pull people in for TCA as well.”
All her pieces are newly-pulled and one-of a-kind, meaning you will be the first to see them! Killer vintage has a new home. When Heath took over the business, she mainly offered clothes and pieces made between 1870 and 1970, and recently, people are demanding more from the 1980s and ‘90s.
“I’m pulling stuff in that’s the real deal; the oldest thing I think I have on the floor now is early
‘20s,” she said. “I have a really phenomenal three-piece tuxedo from the early ‘20s.”
Heath’s impeccable fashion taste has brought her jobs working to costume for TV, film and Broadway – including last year’s Netflix series “Hollywood” and the 1997 blockbuster “Titanic.”
Herington also sells audio equipment, including turntables, speakers and things that have been turned into the Waste Commission of Scott County for scrap. He’ll also sell accessories like
guitar strings, audio cords and batteries.
“It’s for both of us – recycle, reuse, repurpose,” Heath said of reselling “vintage” items. “That’s exactly what we’re doing. It’s great; more people should think this way. We’d have a healthier world. I personally think it’s really cool.”
“Since we’re gonna be next to Raccoon Motel, which will have so many shows and so many touring bands,” Herington said. “It seems a no-brainer.” As a general rule, he won’t be open at night after 6.
For more information on the limited edition Record Store Day titles, visit www.recordstoreday.com.