For nearly 36 years, Janie’s Record Shop in San Antonio, Texas, a cozy store filled with unique and hard-to-find LPs, 45s, cassettes, and CDs of all genres, has not only helped countless customers in search of a treasured song or an album but has served as a trusted, well-known resource in the Tejano and Conjunto music communities.
Artists, DJs, promoters, and all types of industry insiders make up the diverse clientele at the welcoming shop on Bandera Road where a wide variety of Tejano and Conjunto favorites can be found in all formats. Promotional photos and posters for different Tejano artists and events line the walls of the store, too.
Up until a few months ago, the personal, friendly customer service experience at Janie’s Record Shop often included a few words of wisdom from the owner herself, Janie Esparza, now almost 95 years old.
Although Esparza, known for her encyclopedic knowledge of songs from various eras and artists as well as for her undeniable passion for music, no longer sits behind the counter in the shop she opened on Aug. 1, 1985. Her presence still pervades every inch of the store. Due to her declining health, Esparza could no longer maintain her vigorous full-time work schedule.
Esparza’s son, Robert Esparza, and her daughter, Becky Deleon, now manage the shop but admit they have learned the business from the best: their mother.
“We were taught very well by the main lady,” Robert said. “There’s never going to be another Janie because her extensive knowledge is impeccable. There’s no one like Janie.”
Robert recalls his mother’s induction into four halls of fame, including the 2003 National Hispanic Hall of Fame, 2011 Tejano Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award, 2012 Narciso Martinez Conjunto Hall of Fame, and 2015 South Texas Association Conjunto Hall of Fame. He remembers how customers would line up for a photo with his mother and wait just to ask her about music. He said he and his sister strive to keep up the store with the same personalized attention to customers as their mother displayed.
In honor of Janie, the 36th anniversary of Janie’s Record Shop, and her dedication to the Tejano and Conjunto music genres, artists will perform from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, for a benefit concert. The event at Thirsty Horse Saloon, 2335 N.W. Military Hwy, in San Antonio, will feature the following artists: David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, Ruben Ramos, Los Desperadoz, LaDezz, Rick Fuentes, and several special guests. Pre-sale tickets are available for $20 at Gilbert’s Mexican Restaurant, Janie’s Record Shop, and Cavender’s Boot City. All proceeds will benefit Janie’s Record Shop.
While the business she started decades ago moves forward now under her children’s leadership, Janie’s legacy is always in mind with the goal to continue her dream and share it with future generations.
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