Claremont’s iconic Rhino Records gets move and makeover

Rhino Records has a collection of vinyl albums from a variety of different genres in their store. Rhino Records moved from its longtime location in Claremont to Moreno Street in Montclair in August. / photo by Casi Martinez
Rhino Records has a collection of vinyl albums from a variety of different genres in their store. Rhino Records moved from its longtime location in Claremont to Moreno Street in Montclair in August. / photo by Casi Martinez

Vincent Matthew Franco
Arts Editor

This summer the Claremont Village’s iconic Rhino Records closed up shop for the last time after 48 years on the corner of Bonita and Yale avenues.

The record store began its new chapter August 5 in a Montclair strip mall at 5458 Moreno St., roughly 15 minutes from University of La Verne.

The Claremont store held a massive storewide sale a couple of weeks before the move.  This seemed to have helped with the workload as record bins in the new store were not as loaded as they usually would be.

Aaron Kenyon, the store’s used records buyer and product manager for over 20 years, said the thought of relocating was scary, but it was something that they had to do. 

With soaring rents everywhere, the decision to move was financial.

“There was naturally a part where we’re like, ‘Oh, well, what’s gonna go on?” Kenyon said adding that at first they had a difficult time finding a new site. 

When first stepping into the new Montclair store, visitors have the choice of going to the left, where they will find all their analog needs like vinyl records, cassette tapes, VHS tapes and books. Or they can go to the left, which is where they can acquire all their digital needs like CDs and DVDs.

In addition, to the left side are band t-shirts hanging by the dozens along the wall, but just make sure to know at least three songs before you purchase. 

One noticeable difference between this new location and the older one is the lower ceiling, which makes it seem smaller. It actually is wider, giving Rhino Records the chance to move their partner video store, Video Paradiso, under the same roof. 

“There’s a lot of perks over here that we didn’t have over there, like an actual parking lot and, you know, just room for everything and room to grow,”said Taylor Kingsbury, a ULV alumnus and Rhino employee for over 20 years. 

Like all record stores, Rhino Records always had a vibe of its own. Now with a whole new place, they have a blank canvas too. Although, customers familiar with the old location will notice the classic rhino head from the old building hanging in the back. 

“We got boxes of all this beautiful stuff that we want to put up to kind of bring back that old school vibe because you know, it’s like anything, we just inhabit the place,” said Kenyon as he goes through and cleans a pile of old punk rock records. 

Even with over 10 years experience under their belts working at Rhino Records, both Kenyon and Kingsbury shopped there with their family as kids long before so – expanding their music taste and building up their collections one record at a time.  

Even younger employee Hannah Evans, 19, who has only been working at the store for five months says it is a nostalgic experience working at Rhino. 

“I would always come in with my parents and my parents loved the shop,” Evans said. “They had been shopping there when they were in high school and in college as well.”

As for the future of Rhino Records and its new location, Kingsley says they are working on building up their inventory to prepare for their official grand opening on Sept. 17.  

Vincent Matthew Franco can be reached at vincent.franco@laverne.edu.

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Vincent Matthew Franco is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. He has been involved in journalism and print media in high school, community college and is now at the arts editor of the Campus Times.

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Casi Martinez, a senior photography major, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine.

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