Entertain Variety at Mr. Zero’s

Entertain Variety at Mr. Zero’s Main Photo

2 Aug 2022

News, Success Stories, Choose Roseville

Some retail stores focus on specific products, while others target distinct customers. Rik Schwinden, the owner of Mr. Zero’s in Roseville, has a slightly different approach.

“We have a variety of products for a variety of customers,” he said. “We have the vintage products people want, whether they are seven or seventy!”

Mr. Zero’s Facebook page states it is a “Movie & Music Store,” but that description does not come close to describing the shop. Customers head to Mr. Zero’s to find the records, cassettes, CDs, Nintendo, Sega, Playstation, Xbox, VHS, DVD, laser disc and “Toys-In-The-Package” from ten years ago and older that have a special place in their lives. The inventory is a reflection of what customers are willing to purchase.

“After 40 years in the business, I am still learning about the things I love,” he said.

That philosophy helped Schwinden through the COVID-19 pandemic. When he first opened the shop, his idea was to sell records, CDs, Nintendo, Sega, VHS and DVDs. But he added toys within the first year of opening.

“Having that range of products makes us unique and has kept us from failing when one segment experienced a drop in popularity,” he said. “We have seen many video game stores go out of business over the last two years, but our diversity helped us survive.”

Retail potential

Schwinden opened Mr. Zero’s in Roseville in 2009 because he believed a shop east of the Mississippi River would be successful. His research indicated Roseville had a large number of Baby Boomers who would be interested in buying records and video games. The property he found was next door to the nation’s #1 Music Go Round. Retail is an essential industry in Roseville, from the Rosedale Mall being the #2 mall in the state to the small businesses throughout the city.  A steady stream of potential customers visits the many shops at the corner of Larpenteur and Lexington, placing Mr. Zero’s at a desirable location.

“This is a good site for retail, even though many businesses have come and gone through the years,” he said. “The area has a long history of being an important retail test market, with the first Dairy Queen in Minnesota and one of the first Target and Best Buy stores, all within a one-mile radius of the store.”

Passion in music

The variety of music seen in Mr. Zero’s is just a glimpse of the passion he has for it in his life. Music has been his lifelong passion, starting with his mother’s influence in selling records in Sioux City, Iowa, where he grew up. He was drawn to fellow Sioux Citian guitarist Tommy Bolin, who most notably achieved fame with Deep Purple’s rock band in the ‘70s. From managing a record shop in Des Moines in the late ’80s to the bands he performs with now, he is never far from his music. An incomplete list of his efforts includes:  

  • Sunday host at WDGY “The Original Rock and Roll Station” at 7:30 a.m. since 2017. 
  • Part of several bands, including Tommy Bolin tribute band BANG GANG, Never Say Die, a tribute to Black Sabbath and KISSin Time, a tribute to KISS. 
  • Mr. Zero’s Monthly Blog
  • Produces the podcast: Psychogello Vinyl Radio Show
  • Monthly contributor to Roseville Patch

As Schwinden looks to the future, he knows his ability to adapt and continue the store’s diversity will be critical as interests change. The idea of vintage is not what it used to be, especially in a market where the “oldies” means the ‘90’s to so many customers today, he said.

“Our core customers are looking for that rare and expensive item and hoping we can find it for them for less,” said Mr. Zero. “I look forward to making those customers aware of what we have and helping them find what they are looking for.”

The Roseville Economic Development Authority (REDA) coordinates and administers economic development and redevelopment initiatives for the City of Roseville, MN. It serves as a comprehensive resource for businesses seeking to startup and grow in the area. In addition to prioritizing business retention and expansion, the REDA connects area employers with the dedicated and talented workforce they need to succeed and thrive.