Melissa Geils of Laurie’s Planet of Sound

By Stephanie Sack | Monday, June 20, 2011

Melissa Geils at Laurie's Planet of Sound. Credit: Stephanie Sack.

As the self-proclaimed “Crate Digger and Vinyl Licker” at Laurie’s Planet of Sound, 4639 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago native and DePaul graduate Melissa Geils has worked at the Lincoln Square record shop since 2000, meeting and greeting the neighborhood’s music enthusiasts with her friendly demeanor and eclectic taste in tunes.

In 2010, Melissa furthered her commitment to her love of music by launching a record label, BLVD Records, which has recently been the subject of much positive press. Her busy schedule also includes bar tending and curating theme nights at Late Bar, at which artists from her record label are guest DJs. That she does it all with an unflagging love for Lincoln Square makes Melissa one of the area’s most interesting ambassadors.

1. Where is your favorite place to relax in the neighborhood?

Gene’s Sausage Shop’s rooftop deck has been a favorite break/post-work hangout for us. Also, you can find us across the street having a beer or five at Ricochet’s quite often!

2. What’s the goofiest thing you have seen in the area lately? This should be a good question for you!

Ha! Aside from the usual drunken debauchery rolling out of Maifest a couple weeks ago, one of our favorite common sights is dogs in cute outfits. We’re so happy to be in a neighborhood full of great dogs, and Laurie’s is dog-friendly, FYI, and there is a local dachshund that rolls by in a different outfit almost every day.

3. Besides Laurie’s, what’s your favorite independent shop in the neighborhood?

Can I pick two? I love Hanger 18… it’s the perfect shop to browse if you need to get a gift. There’s cool/interesting stuff for babies and kids, an eclectic selection of jewelry made by independent artisans, hip women’s accessories, and a large amount of cool-weird-unusual-completely random items. Also, the owners are so friendly and nice. There is no way you can not spend money at this shop!

I also have to mention our local independently-owned corner store, Happy Food Spot at Lincoln & Eastwood. Happy has been supplying all the Laurie’s employees with snacks, caffeine, and random items–from plastic forks to tissues–from the beginning. And Maria & Olga are the coolest mother/daughter team in all of Chicago!

4. How has the area changed over the last five years?

Sadly, it’s become less of a “young artists” neighborhood, and more of a “family-oriented” neighborhood. This is more of a broad change that’s happened over ten years, but there are more strollers and babies then ever before! However, at Laurie’s we’ve adapted with a nice section of kids music. Another change I’ve noticed is that Lincoln Square has become more of a destination neighborhood on weekends, so we’re perpetually crankin’ on Saturday and Sundays! It’s great!

5. What’s the staff at Laurie’s been listening to lately?

We’ve been listening to: the new Kate Bush album, “Director’s Cut” the new self-titled Vee Dee LP; Raphael Saadiq’s “Stone Rollin,” which is the #1 2011 summertime party album!; the new Mickey LP on local label HoZac Records, great glam/punk; local band Outer Minds, which features a former Laurie’s employee on drums; and a whole lotta cool and unusual LPs from our used bins, which have been bustin’ out with great stuff lately!

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