Stacks employees prepare for an event.
Stacks employees prepare for an event.
Karen Esquivel

Mighty Del Rocks

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mt. Eden teacher Gabriel De La Cruz opened an online store for the sale of his record collection. In 2021, he decided to open a brick-and-mortar store by the name of Stacks Record Shop in downtown Hayward. He chose to open this record store for his love of music. 

De La Cruz said the business helps with extra income. During the pandemic, since he had stepped down from working at school, he had been wanting to run his own shop. According to De La Cruz, he chose to make his record shop in Hayward because when he moved here in 2019 there were not any record stores and “every town needs a local record store.” 

Throughout his time working as a DJ since 2003, he dreamed of having a store for his record collection. Since starting his career as a DJ, De La Cruz has performed at various locations around the world such as South Korea, New York, Atlanta, Denver, Washington D.C., and all over the Bay Area.

This store not only sells records but also hosts various events such as private dinners, art shows, mini-concerts, book releases, and parties. The record store has many different types  of collections of music genres. The main focuses of the store are funk, soul, jazz, and hip-hop. Their selective rock genres include classic rock from the 70s and 80s. De La Cruz mentions that his store is globally well-known and that many come from different states and countries to visit for his record collections and events. Some of the events De La Cruz mentioned he has hosted are Break 4 Tots, Break The Bay, LVRSDLX, Wings and Wax, and Funk Soul Disco Boogie. 

De La Cruz received  support from friends and family when he was creating and establishing his record store; they contributed towards store funding and operations. As a result of his store being successful, he asked one of his many friends, who helped with the funding, to become his side partner in running his business. His friend helps him run the place while he is at school or spending time with his family.

Although he owns the shop and only works 1-2 times a week, he has experienced several challenges as a business owner. De La Cruz has struggled with time management while juggling grading and lesson planning. Also, he had to give up valuable family time to run Stacks Record Shop.

Despite facing difficulties, De La Cruz is optimistic about his business. “…Our shop creates an escape from all our troubles and music is [our] therapy.”

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