Mark Kessler is a self-described “child of the 1960s”.

The owner of Recycled Records, who spent more than 40 years in downtown Springfield with his brother Gary building the one-of-a-kind business that specializes in CDs and vinyl albums, has no problem with HCI selling alternative cannabis for recreational use.

Look through Kessler’s shop window – behind a glass case filled with cutlery – and it was the perfect place to watch the events that were going on at HCI on New Years Day. Customers lined Adams Street to legally purchase a pot in Illinois for the first time.

“A lot of people who smoke marijuana listen to music,” admitted Kessler, who was holding court at the store one day last week. “People who listen to music don’t necessarily smoke marijuana. I would much rather be with people who smoke marijuana than drink tequila. I am absolutely thrilled that they are over there. “

Kessler said the crowds in the area were tame, although he was glad HCI management dragged away the temporary portable toilets to accommodate the crowds that lasted until last week. He practically beckoned potential buyers into the front window with vintage covers of High Times, the monthly cannabis-related magazine, even signed by Debbie Harry, lead singer of the new wave band Blondie.

Kessler’s main problem is an often repeated one: the parking lot situation on the 600 block of East Adams Street. It’s all on-block paid parking for a premium.

“It was exacerbated by recreational sales,” he said. “Parking is a big problem. I made some sales but lost others (above). “

Kessler said that a woman who ordered a CD from Recycled Records told him that she circled the block eight times to find a parking space and tended to cut Recycled Records out entirely. Another person brought two boxes of vinyl albums for a possible sale but abandoned the plan, Kessler said, because it made six trips around the block.

“This is money out of my pocket.”

The parking and traffic problems and concerns in the area are a growing pain “that can be resolved,” said Lisa Clemmons Stott, executive director of Downtown Springfield, Inc.

“HCI has been an asset to downtown Springfield since it opened,” she said. “You have a professional facade, professional staff. It goes well with the other retail spaces and brings pedestrian traffic. “

Diane Schleyhahn, vice president and artist of The Pharmacy Gallery & Art Space, west of Recycled Records, reiterated that there had been no major problems in the crowd from HCI.

“In the first week of the year some people came to warm up because it was so incredibly cold,” said Schleyhahn.

For The Pharmacy, an artists’ association with limited working hours, that didn’t mean more sales, added Schelyhahn.

“Parking is impossible,” she added.

HCI spokesman Chris McCloud said he was surprised that Springfield’s early sales attracted customers from across the country, not just border states.

“It shows,” he said, “the cultural shift around this product. The general attitude we saw from customers has been extremely positive.”

Aaron Rapier of Springfield, who was in line last week, said he was making his second visit to HCI and will be buying gummy foods and vapes. “I’d rather (buy marijuana) this way,” Rapier said. “I know what I’m getting.”

The Illinois pot legalized pot issue “has not yet arisen,” Rapier admitted. “Look at it like the moonlight (ban). In Illinois it’s over now.”

Kessler’s family has been doing business in the city center since 1910. Recently, however, he’s been doing overtures on the sale of the store, which has vinyl albums, CDs, DVDs, stereos, video games and systems, musical instruments, and a whole host of other jewelry, furs, baseball cards, comics and vintage postcards.

This possible sale has nothing to do with HCI, said Kessler. Indeed, Kessler seemed amused by the attention the shop in his shadow had attracted.

At the DSI awards dinner at Wyndham City Center on Thursday, Mayor Jim Langfelder joked that “the revenue between Recycled Records and HCI could be sky high.”

“That was a highlight for me,” admitted Kessler, who presented the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award this year after accepting it last year. “It’s always good to mention your name in front of 500 people. There are plenty of other businesses that he could have mentioned. “

Kessler said a caller who recently identified himself as the father of a local Girl Scout wanted to know if Kessler might be receptive to his daughter standing outside his shop selling Girl Scout cookies.

A 9-year-old Girl Scout in San Diego made headlines after selling 300 boxes of biscuits in front of a pot pharmacy in a couple of hours in 2018.

During the conversation, Kessler gave the father advice on the busiest times of the pharmacy.

“He must have been happy,” said Kessler and hung up.

Contact Steven Spearie: 788-1524,,