Cheap Thrills specializes CDs and vinyl of jazz, avant garde, experimental and blues, and also carries rock, soul, international and various other genres of music. // Cheap Thrills, Montreal (Courtesy Cheap Thrills)

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Cheap Thrills specializes CDs and vinyl of jazz, avant garde, experimental and blues, and also carries rock, soul, international and various other genres of music.

This indie record store is a Montreal institution. It's been around since 1971, and while manager Guy Lavoie says it hasn't been a cakewalk, the store is still modestly successful. How do they do it? "There is no secret that I know of," says Lavoie. "If you find one let me know." The business, he says, is changing from month to month -- you've got to roll with it. "Small stores have a closer relationship with their customers and the flexibility to adapt to changes," he says. "Be aware that any notions of what worked in last year's — or even last month's — music industry must be re-evaluated constantly. You've got to lower your expectations," he adds. "Be able to accept 'staying afloat' as a modest success."

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