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Michele Swanson didn't retire from her longtime HR job at Delta Airlines just to open a record store. She also didn't want to open just any record store.

"I actually never thought about opening a store until this particular space came open," said Swanson, the new owner of Lucky Cat Records.

Opening this weekend on the corner of Lyndale Avenue and 26th Street, Lucky Cat takes over the long-shuttered storefront that used to house Oar Folkjokeopus and Treehouse Records. In its '70s and '80s era as "Oar Folk," the shop was a meeting hub and incubator for legendary bands including the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, the Suburbs and the Jayhawks.

All of those local groups happen to be personal favorites of Swanson, a point that becomes obvious when you see all the posters, original artwork and rare album covers that line the walls of the lovingly refurbished space. The Golden Valley native even has the Replacements' Tommy Stinson coming in to perform with a band led by Al Church on her store's new stage Saturday night for its opening party.

Here's an edited conversation with Swanson about Lucky Cat.

Q: Why was this store location calling to you so much you had to open a store here?

A: The history here. I'm such a fan of local music and local history. Just the fact that Replacements were discovered here, and all the stories from all the bands — stories of them hanging out here watching "All My Children" on the TV, things like that. I'm thrilled to now be just a small cog in that history.

Q: What's it been like transitioning from the corporate world at Delta to running your own little indie store?

A: It's a different environment, but it's interesting the things I picked up that can be reapplied here. I worked in HR for 22 years at Delta in a number of different capacities. I was exposed to payroll, finance, marketing, project management, IT work, all things like that are valuable to me now.

Q: Did all the free traveling benefits with Delta gain you a worldview on record stores?

A: I've always liked popping into record stores, and I've done it even more as I've been thinking about this store. It's interesting how different they are in other cities. In London or some of the other big cities, the record stores seem to be centralized in certain neighborhoods or districts. Here, the record stores are spread all over.

Q: Do you have a favorite city or store for shopping?

A: The Twin Cities, honestly. I shop at all of the stores around here, and I just love them. I love that they're in different neighborhoods. People here sort of have their own "local" store. And of course I just love the music from the Twin Cities.

Q: One thing that sets you apart here is being female-owned and operated. How do you think that will make this store different?

A: I don't know what about it sets us apart other than I do make a point of carrying a lot of female artists, but I'm not trying to make that my niche. I want my niche more to be all the local music I have in here.

It's true, when you walk into a lot of record stores or concerts, you typically see more men. I don't know why that is. But if people feel a little more welcomed having women here running the place, then great.

Q: What have you learned so far in getting the store ready?

A: I've had to learn things like where to source my product, where to curate used vinyl. One thing I was surprised to learn was that a lot of the local music is harder to come by in America. I've had to go to Europe for a lot of it. All the Run Westy Run albums, Babes in Toyland, Zuzu's Petals, those records I had to order internationally. You'd think it'd be easier to source the local stuff, but it's not.

Q: Any idea why?

A: I think when CDs came in and took over, Europe never got away from vinyl as much as America did. They've always been more vinyl-focused. And when you read things like Laurie Lindeen's book, you learn they were big in Europe, and people bought more albums over there. So those records are still over there in the mix. And the Jayhawks and Tommy Stinson still tour over there a lot, especially southern Europe.

Q: Your only prior experience working in a record store was a stint at Musicland as a kid, right?

A: Working in a record store will be my very first and my last job [laughs]. When I was 15 or 16, I worked at the store in Ridgedale Mall. I loved it back then.

My sister [Deb Swanson, who's also working at the store] started out as a manager and moved to Musicland corporate as a buyer, an eventually wound up moving to Los Angeles and working for Universal Music. She gave me my first Replacements album, too, "Let It Be." She handed it to me and said, "You're gonna like this." She was right.

Lucky Cat Records

Opening weekend: Noon-5 p.m. Fri. & Sun, noon-6 p.m. Sat.

Party: 7:30 p.m. Sat. with Tommy Stinson, free but limited space.

Where: 2557 Lyndale Av., Mpls.