Photo Series: Ye Olde Deaf Ear


Photo taken by Henry Anderson.

Henry Anderson, Photojournalist

The downtown La Crosse area has become a place for local businesses to come and use the space provided to sell their products and cater to passers-by. Through this, the local businesses can help customers become more in tune with the area. One business that does this is Deaf Ear Records.  

In 1978, Deaf Ear Records was established, hopping from location to location around the downtown area. From behind Fayze’s restaurant on 4th street to 3rd street than to a place on 4th and Jay, Deaf Ear has done quite a bit of moving before settling in its current spot on 112 4th street south 

With the arrival of the business at its’ current location, Deaf Ear has expanded itself to areas outside of music. This includes collectibles, such as comics, for example, DVDs, and many other items. Furthermore, the basement of the building now is home to the Gaming Dungeon, which is a space that allows people to play popular tabletop games such as Magic the Gathering, along with many others.  

This expansion of Deaf Ear’s business to include a wider variety of items has allowed them to connect with the people of La Crosse in different and numerous ways. As the Deaf Ear Records website states, “Deaf Ear Records has been a fixture of Downtown La Crosse and continuously strives to make music and popular culture easily and locally accessible.” 

The connection goes beyond what the customer feels in relation to Deaf Ear Records, however, and reaches into those who work at the store as well. Joseph Pellowski, a senior associate at Deaf Ear Records, is one of those people. 

Hailing from a small rural town in Minnesota, Pellowski began working at Deaf Ear Records around 2015. But, before working at Deaf Ear Records, Pellowski was working that he described as, “unfavorable, but it paid well.” Despite this “unfavorable job position”, Pellowski found himself inside Deaf Ear Records and fell in love with the place. Eventually, Pellowski quit his job and got himself a new job at Deaf Ear Records.  

The more he worked at Deaf Ear Records, the more Pellowski fell in love with the job. With his position now as a senior associate, Pellowski feels that he is in the right place. “I like my job because I can do what I want to do. If I want to go clean CDs, I can do that. And while it rarely happens, I also have the ability to tell people off if they are acting weird or rude while in the store,” said Pellowski.  

Pellowski, along with the other employees and the customers of Deaf Ear Records, have a connection to the shop because of its ability to link the popular culture and music of eras past and present in one spot. This brings people from all over the La Crosse area to Deaf Ear Records because, as Pellowski puts it when speaking about his position, “I just want to be doing something that I love to do.”  

Like other businesses in the downtown La Crosse area, Deaf Ear Records employs people that love what they do. So, don’t be afraid to come on down and check out Deaf Ear Records; there will always be something interesting to look at and somebody interesting to talk to.  

Additionally, always be on the lookout for Record Store Days. These days out of the year, certain music is designated, mostly vinyl records, to be released exclusively at record stores like Deaf Ear. On Record Store Days, Deaf Ear Records usually has sales on vinyl along with the content coming out. Not only are you helping out a local record store during Record Store Day, but you might save a little money in the process.  

Deaf Ear Records is connecting the downtown community of La Crosse by, “Fighting for your right to rock.”