“That place is a weirdo store.”
The phrase is one of the first you’ll see when visiting the website for Bozeman, Montana’s Cactus Records and Gifts. Proudly displaying that as an internet badge of honor seems fitting once you walk past their storefront at 29 West Main Street.
When I was last in Bozeman, I was greeted by a variety of heads in the front window – unicorn, human wearing a chicken hat and what I’m pretty sure was a cow skull.
The “weirdo store” quote isn’t attributed to anyone on the Cactus Records and Gifts website. It’s a mystery to the online reader much like the store’s stated history.
“The origins of Cactus Records are shrouded in myth – but we were probably founded somewhere around 1970,” the site’s “about us” section reads. “Or that’s what we’re going to go with because that way we get to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2020.”
Happy belated(?) 50th anniversary!
While there is A LOT packed into Cactus Records and Gifts, the store doesn’t overwhelm shoppers in a way that it is difficult to find items. Instead, the store is more of a choose-your-own adventure.
Items are smartly organized across multiple levels and areas. It’s just as comfortable to pop in to pick up a new release on vinyl as it is to snag a vintage comic book from the lower level of the store.
The main floor area inside the front entrance is mostly devoted to new and used vinyl.
Anchoring the room is one of the coziest listening areas that you’ll find in a record store.
Pull up a chair (or hand) and listen to some tunes. Your adventure through Cactus Records and Gifts is far from over.
From this point in the store, you have two options. You can head up a couple steps to the apparel area or downstairs to peep some comics.
Let’s start with the clothing. The upper level of Cactus Records and Gifts can outfit you with store apparel or something to show some Montana pride.
The regret I feel for not buying this shirt is real.
If you still have enough energy after traversing the upper level of the store, you need to at least take a peak in the basement.
Here, you will find comics, posters, tapestries and a ton of other goodness.
The room is heavy on the “gifts” part of the Cactus Records and Gifts moniker.
There are even more records to find down there, though, including a $1 bin and some of the more used choices from the store’s used vinyl selection.
The comics portion of the downstairs area is loaded with multiple rows of boxes of both classic and newer publications.
Along with the fun listening station, quirky apparel and decor, one of my favorite features at Cactus Records and Gifts was their mystery CD and movie bundles.
Shoppers can purchase CDs and movies that are wrapped in newspaper, concealing their contents. The only hint is a vague description on the price tag.
Look, I’m not sure what to tell you if going to a “weirdo store” isn’t your thing. You probably aren’t very fun at parties. What are you doing at a party in the middle of a pandemic, anyway?
Bozeman is beautiful and Cactus Records and Gifts is a gem waiting to be found by vinyl adventurer’s along Main Street.
Just look for this guy…