Montclair’s Iconic Underground Cafe Soundz For Sale

The iconic Cafe Soundz, located at 320 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, will be closing for business on Labor Day, 2011, unless someone steps up to buy it.

According to owner Bobby Lisi, who has left his mark on two generations of customers, Soundz caters to a subculture, exclusively carrying underground clothing labels, footwear and a wide variety of electronic dance music. After 22 years, Lisi will be leaving the thriving business behind to follow his dreams in Costa Rica, where he and his wife plan to open an artist’s retreat. “Soundz is more than just a record shop and it’s my hope that someone will step up to keep it going.”

Founded on Monday, September 4, 1989, the shop has enjoyed a uniquely prosperous existence rivaled by few boutiques in Montclair, operating in the black for the entire run. Over the decades, Lisi has become a fixture of downtown Montclair, and Soundz developed the reputation as a place to stop in — not only for music fans, but for friendly neighbors who want to chat. “I love people. I love to talk. People filter in and out all day, some to shop, some just to say hi. They keep me up to date on their lives.”

Lisi said that if no one buys the store he’ll sell off his merchandise online. “I would actually make more money if I did it that way, but I feel bad for my loyal customers, so I am offering to sell the business to the right person at a reduced price.”

Labor Day seems far off, but for Soundz customers it is a line drawn in the sand, marking the end of an era. The video above, shot by Wheeler Antabanez, shares Lisi’s reflections on decades of shop keeping in Montclair and his efforts to find a buyer for the store.

Lisi can be reached by phone, Monday through Saturday 12-9:00 PM.
Cafe Soundz
320 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042

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  1. That’s a nice little interview. Back in the 80’s I did a lot of my shopping at TuTone when it was in Passaic across from the Capitol. I still think i have a shirt from there. Best of luck Bob and you are 100% correct about shops like yours and your assessment of society in general.

  2. My friend in New York told me to pop into Soundz when we moved here 8 years ago. In fact, knowing a store like Soundz was thriving on Bloomfield Avenue, made me feel a bit better about our choice to move to Montclair. Good luck to you and yours Bobby; my family will surely miss you! Although we are not shoppers, when we did need something, you were our first and only choice.

  3. This store has some really cool clothing and music for the Goth/Techno crowd. Which is still alive and well. I would really hate to see such an iconic shop disappear from the Montclair scene. I hope some one steps up and buys it.

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