Mainstay

Barry Beal just doesn’t give up.

He didn’t give up when thieves broke into his store and stole nearly every single thing inside, plunging him into bankruptcy. He didn’t give up after the big box stores started offering the same things he sells, but cheaper. And he didn’t give up on the neighborhood he’s in even as it vanished from around him.

His store, Shantinique Music and Sportswear, sits on a stretch of Harper that passes along blocks of grassy fields. It’s very different now here than when he started, back when a thousand 45s of a new hit would sell in a single day, when the blocks around him were filled with kids eager to buy what the Billboard charts said was hot. Back when there was a neighborhood.

“Now there’s like two houses on every block, or five houses on every block,” the 59-year-old says. “It’s a big difference.”

If it weren’t for his regular customers, he might be gone by now. Out here, in this east side neighborhood, where just about every little family business has moved or closed, the fact that Beal has stayed through the area’s collapse has earned him a diehard loyalty.

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