"Angels do exist": Val's Halla Records saved by local Oak Park investor

OAK PARK (WLS) -- Val's Halla Records in Oak Park will not be closing after a community member invested to keep the independent store open, extending a 47-year run as a haven for music lovers.

"I'm on top of the world. I'm ecstatic," said general manager Shayne Blakeley.

The investment came from Trevor Toppen, a small business consultant and regular costumer at Val's Halla.

After Toppen's son started volunteering at the record store, he learned that the store would likely close before the end of the year.

"It was very much sort of pulling from the heart strings of knowing just the importance of this place," Toppen said.

Blakeley initially announced that the store would close at the end of November, barring "a miracle." But a miracle is exactly what Toppen provided.

"I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving," Blakeley said.

Store founder Val Camilletti died last June. And though Blakeley shared Val's passion for music and community, neither had the business acumen to keep the record store open without a major new investment.

Toppen brings that missing ingredient. And the pair have established a new business plan with more community events, including concerts and open mic nights, along with a steady influx of new records.
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