Interview and Photo by Jason Setnyk
Cornwall, Ontario – Jason Lavoie, a Cornwall native with an undying passion for music, has shown remarkable resilience as he continues to run Bud’s Records and Kool Things, a beloved local music store, after the untimely passing of its founder, Bud, and amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Born in November 1986, Jason Lavoie’s love for music began early, with his biggest influences being the iconic bands Genesis and Nirvana. Fueling his musical aspirations, Jason actively played in various local bands, including Unexcepted and Doctor Mom with Bud O’Byrne.
In 2019, fulfilling a lifelong dream, Bud O’Byrne opened the doors to Bud’s Records and Kool Things, quickly garnering popularity and becoming a hub for music enthusiasts in Cornwall. However, the store’s promising journey took a sudden turn when Bud tragically passed away on April 16th, 2020, just a little over a year after the store’s grand opening. The loss left the community heartbroken and raised concerns about the future of the beloved establishment.
The store remained closed for about five months following Bud’s passing, leaving customers uncertain about its fate. However, determination and an unwavering commitment to honor Bud’s legacy spurred Jason Lavoie into action. Resolving to keep the store alive, Jason decided to reopen on Halloween in 2020, symbolizing the spirit of resilience and hope.
The store’s unwavering commitment to serving music enthusiasts and preserving its rich heritage of passion and love for music has earned praise from the community and beyond. Jason Lavoie’s dedication to keeping the store running, even through difficult times, has been nothing short of inspiring.
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – Can you tell us the inspiration for purchasing Bud’s Records and Kool Things? What led you and Emily to take over the store?
“Well, Bud was a really good friend of mine and bandmate. We had a deep connection together with music. About two months after his passing, I contacted his wife (Angie) and asked what the store’s future was. She said she was considering selling all the inventory to someone out of town. The Idea of the store closing down didn’t sit well with me. I talked to Emily, my girlfriend, and we decided to take a chance and buy the business. This all happened during Covid and was a risky move.”
2 – Could you share some memories or experiences highlighting Bud O’Byrne’s music passion and impact on the local community?
“Bud was passionate about music; being in a band with him for over eight years, I saw him channeling the rock and roll spirit on many occasions. He was a true living rock star, always excited about finding that new sound or band, creating new songs out of nowhere. The impact that Bud has left Cornwall is performing countless live gigs, many special friendships around the community, and the one and only Bud’s Records and Kool Things.”
3 – How does it feel to carry on Bud O’Byrne’s legacy and have his name on the storefront? What significance does it hold for you?
“It feels amazing to carry on such a good friend’s legacy. Bud was like a brother to me. I still consider this his store; I remember helping him set it up and telling him this is not a pop-up shop. Buds is here to stay. I’m happy to see it still here with his name on the building, I know some people are mad we kept the name, but some people would be upset if we did change it. We will always keep it Buds Records and Kool Things. Look out for our new storefront makeover!”
4 – In what ways will Bud’s Records and Kool Things continue to honor Bud O’Byrne’s vision and maintain the store’s unique character?
“Well, it has been three years since we’ve taken over the store, and the people that come by the store see that we’ve put everything back into the store. Our bins are busting with product. I’ve been working 40 hours a week in construction and evenings and weekends at the store, so pretty much been working seven days a week for three years now. We hardly changed the layout of the store, and when we did, it was very thoughtfully planned and carefully executed. Quality speaks for itself, and that’s what we focus on: being open eight hours a day, six days a week, and working hard is how we maintain on honoring Bud’s Legacy and truly representing how solid of a man he was.”
5 – How have you been able to attract customers from SDSG, Ottawa, Montreal, and beyond? What strategies or elements do you believe contribute to the store’s popularity?
“Consistency and quality are big factors in gaining popularity. Word of mouth is our biggest advertisement; we do many record shows and pop-ups just to get our name around. We also advertise in many local news outlets; we also have on Google but mostly from our Facebook and Instagram pages. Emily and I actually just recorded our first radio commercial for B99.3 (WSNN) that was lots of fun and a Kool experience under the store’s belt.”
Bud’s Records and Kool Things is located at 375 Eleventh Street East. For more information on their latest happenings, such as including Dennis Jagard of Ten Foot Pole visiting the store on August 3, follow them on Facebook.