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Now at The Factory St. Pete: Daddy Kool Records

Bill DeYoung

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Daddy Kool Records, part of the St. Pete landscape for 22 years, opened its new location in The Factory St. Pete Thursday. Photos by Bill DeYoung.

The doors officially opened today at Daddy Kool Records, inside The Factory St. Pete.

It’s not the first location for the vinyl, CD and music memorabilia store, nor is it the second or third.

But this one, at 2606 Fairfield Avenue S, is home, according to owner Manny Kool.

“It’s a new thing,” said the veteran music retailer, whose real name is Manny Matalon. “As we have more events here, and people start to realize ‘Oh, here it is,’ and see that it’s easy to get to, as time goes on hopefully people will become more familiar with it.”

Big Daddy: Manny Matalon, aka Manny Kool.

Kool sees his relationship with The Factory – itself a relatively new arrival to the Warehouse Arts District – as symbiotic.

“I think our name recognition is going to help all the other businesses,” he said. “It’s like, hey, we’ve got the name and a lot of traffic – you guys have got a lot of space and a lot of cool things happening.

“So hopefully together it’s all going to gel.”

The Tampa native opened his first store in Bradenton, in 1985. A Sarasota location followed, and Daddy Kool Records officially arrived in St. Petersburg in 1999.

Daddy Kool was famously at 666 Central for close to a decade, a rolling stone’s throw from the State Theatre, because of its association with Tony Rifugiato and Dave Hundley, whose No Clubs Productions was the venue’s primary booker and, in time, its owner.

“We’ve had the luck of the draw having No Clubs as our parent company,” Kool says. “They’ve kind of kept us afloat, financially. At the end of the year, if there’s money to be owed, we owe it to No Clubs.”

No Clubs continues to present and promote concerts at Jannus Live, the Ritz, the Orpheum and other bay area venues.

These days, when vinyl and CD retailers are falling by the wayside, one after another, what’s the secret to Daddy Kool’s longevity? “It’s been the ability to stick with the trends, and have a lot of the hot sh–,” Kool explains. “I think a lot of it had to do with being downtown, near the venues where everything was happening. It’s part of a scene.

“Now, for us, we’re part of a different scene that’s just starting to blossom.”

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