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Dot’s Record Shop

When thinking about Howard Street, it is impossible not to think of jazz and all forms of music. However, in looking at one of the old Akron City Directories, a historian might be surprised at the overall lack of places and storefronts for patrons of Howard Street to actually purchase music. That is where a store like Dot’s Record Shop comes in handy.

Dot’s Record Shop, opened in 1948, was one of the few record stores on Howard Street. Owned and run by Bill Powell, Dot’s was located on 71 North Howard Street following the end of World War II. Known for its selection of vinyl records, Bill Powell’s musical knowledge and way of organizing his store based on customer surveys led local columnist Jimmy Adcock to call him “one of the best known Juke Box distributors in the Akron Area.”.

Along with its sale of records, Dot’s had a significant role in the greater Akron community as well. During its time, the establishment found its way onto the United Fund-Red Cross Joint Honor Roll for several years in the 1950s. The store also sponsored several events and organizations within Akron, such as the Soap Box Derby in 1953. Among these ways sponsoring the Akron Chapter’s NAACP “Fill The Till” Campaign in 1955, following the death of Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old African American boy who was tortured and lynched in Mississippi in the same year, which partially kickstarted the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s.

While Dot’s Record Shop, as well as other stores which popped up later, such as Cozy Record Shop on 41 North Howard Street, lasted many years, it is not entirely clear when Bill Powell decided to close up shop. Few images of the store exist, but many advertisements for new records have been archived featuring Dot’s as a location where patrons could purchase hip and current music, featuring stars such as Dinah Washington. This lack of clarity on its closure and its near-absence of major visual archiving gives push for further research in the future, as much more can be learned about that place where, in Adcock’s words, the “cats and kitties who like their music on the bop kick” on Howard Street.


  • Adcock, Jimmy. “Musically Speaking.” The Akron Informer. March 13, 1948.
  • Advertisement. Cleveland Call and Post. January 15, 1949.
  • “More Firms, Organizations on UF Honor Roll.” The Akron Beacon Journal. November 15th, 1958.
  • “NAACP Sponsors ‘Fill The Till’ Fund.” The Ohio Informer. October 29th, 1955.
  • Photograph. Summit Memory. circa. 1960’s.
  • Stewart, Evelyn. “10 Akron Boys Race Sun. at Derby Downs”. Cleveland Call and Post. July 25th, 1953.
71 North Howard Street

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