Payne Avenue’s Caydence Records wins business award, turns to events

Abby Grosse/Review • Caydence Records offers a comfortable space for coffee and conversation, as well as a newly renovated event space that will host the the first-ever Caydence Fest two-day event starting on March 23.

Abby Grosse/Review • Local and hard-to-find vinyl galore is at Caydence Records, which was recently named the East Side Area Business Association's 2017 "Business of the Year."

Just a year and a half into its existence, Caydence Records received the East Side Area Business Association’s 2017 “Business of the Year” award on Feb. 8 at ESABA’s annual meeting.

The relatively young coffee shop/music store hybrid is a success story on Payne Avenue, where small business closures can be common news.

The shop’s three co-owners, Mat Graske, Chad Medellin and Gregg Schmitt, said that the main reason for their success is sheer work ethic.

“We’re monsters about how much work we do,” Medellin said. “The three of us put in well over 100 hours a week here. On top of that, Mat and I also work with our landlord.”

The three are musicians as well, making their schedules even more hectic than their long days at Caydence suggest.


Caydence turns a corner

In its first year of business, Caydence managed to make a profit. Now, its owners have turned towards holding events in the space.

“We’re slowly turning a corner,” Graske said. “The first year was us learning our neighborhood and our customers, learning about our own business model. Now we’re really aiming to incorporate events we built out our back space.”

Past the main seating area is the space Graske mentioned — it’s small but open, perfect for intimate performances. There may be preconceived notions of what coffeehouse music is, but Caydence is open to hosting virtually any of the arts.

Poetry and spoken word events are already on the calendar, in addition to a wide swath of musical acts and art shows. According to Graske, there are 20 events on the books for the month of March. An up-to-date calendar is available on the shop’s website at

This month features the inaugural Caydence Fest, which will include Graske and Schmitt’s band, Buckaroux Banshees. The festival begins on Friday, March 23 and ends the following night. The owners said they hope the event will plant the seed for a bigger East Side music festival in years to come, since there is definitely room to grow in the state’s festival scene.

Another important date coming up is Record Store Day on April 21. It will be a platform for the type of cross-promotion that the owners said they love to initiate with their East Side neighbors.

“We’ll have local restaurant pop-ups serving tasty Payne Avenue food,” Graske said. “Last year we had over 400 people walk through the door.” After regular business hours on Record Store Day, the party will continue across the neighborhood at Flat Earth Brewing.


Life on Payne

The Payne Avenue area is often discussed as a site of revitalization. That said, the owners can recount several small business closures in the past year.

“It’s probably like everything, it’s a two steps forward, one step back type of thing,” Graske said, adding that people are coming to the neighborhood because of its reasonable property values and accessible single-family homes.

“We’re seeing a lot of people purchasing foreclosed homes, then schlepping sheetrock for a couple months, and then [the home is] beautiful,” Schmitt said.

The owners said they consider it important that longtime neighborhood residents not be priced out in droves. 

“[The neighborhood] is holding its diversity well ... Typically, when a neighborhood upswings, it becomes all trendy people,” Medellin said.

The three said their plan for this summer is to provide mentorship opportunities to local high school students who want to gain arts and events exposure.

“We’ve had a great time with volunteer help from our community,” Graske said. “We’re interested in giving teens who are interested in arts a springboard to participate. We’re small, so it’s manageable for events.”

Graske, Medellin and Schmitt have also made their lives hyper-local by living in the space above Caydence and doing every errand that they can on Payne. 

Medellin added he recently became president of the Payne-Arcade Business Association. “We always say our brand is community.”


– Abby Grosse can be reached at

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