Legendary record store owner and music promoter Leonard “Lenny” Silver will soon be honored with a section of a street named in his honor. And not just any old street, but one where his original Record Theatre store first opened in 1976 – Main Street. Leonard “Lenny” Silver Way, running from Delavan Avenue to Lafayette Avenue and back to Harvard Place, will be a testament to the life of the business mogul (and good friend to the city of Buffalo), who passed away earlier this year.
If you’re at all familiar with the city of Buffalo, then you probably know the large metal clad yellow building that still stands at 1800 Main Street. This was Lenny’s original location. Unbeknownst to many, Lenny built up his Record Theatre empire to a tune of upwards of 40 locations, including Cleveland and Philadelphia. He was also a big time promoter, founder of Amherst Records, and at one time laid claim to “The World’s Largest Record Store”, boasting 25,000 square feet of retail space.
The street naming dedication is thanks to Lenny’s longtime friend and companion, Lynn Tomkins, who rallied for the recognition. Tomkins understands the role that Lenny had in Buffalo’s music scene. The man built an uber successful music business, employed countless music lovers throughout the years, and always offered a helping hand to the local bands to give them a boost.
Record Theatre was the place where I bought my first album – Joe Jackson’s ‘Look Sharp’, at the age of 14. I still remember the day, standing with my dad, browsing through a world of music that I was just starting to fathom. That record was the foray into everything that I know about music… and to this day, ‘Look Sharp’ is still one of my favorite albums of all time. I’ll never forget the feeling that I got walking through the doors of Record Theatre. The place was larger than life, and so was its founder.
A ceremony will be held on Friday, September 29 at 10:30 a.m. in front of the now closed retail music store at 1800 Main Street. Elected officials will be on hand for the unveiling, along with friends, family and longtime fans.