Sixty-four Years New

Beatles memorabilia shop opens in downtown EC

Marni Kaldjian, photos by Frank H. Robinson

FRAMING THE FAB FOUR. Winona, Minn native Eli Bremer (left) chose to open his shop in downtown Eau Claire because of its welcoming atmosphere.
FRAMING THE FAB FOUR. Winona, Minn native Eli Bremer (above) chose to open
his shop in downtown Eau Claire because of its welcoming atmosphere.

Downtown Eau Claire is getting a taste of Beatlemania thanks to Eli Bremer, native of Winona, Minn. Located on 128 Barstow St., When I’m Sixty Four carries Beatles memorabilia ranging from lunch pails to figurines, first issue stamps to a $2,500 Sub Guys rug featuring the Fab Four. Bremer invites customers to bring in their own memorabilia as well. And if you’re not into The Beatles, he still wants you: “On Tuesdays and Thursdays everyone wears tails, we’re often outside playing hackysack ...we just have fun. We keep the door open and turn the music up.” The main focus, says Bremer, “is not about making money. It’s about community. The money will come later.” So far, Bremer says that the public has been very welcoming.

In fact, Bremer chose Eau Claire for that very reason. Former manager of the band Down Lo, Bremer says that “When I was with the band, my favorite place was Eau Claire. The community supported the band, they wanted to promote the event, and they always had the after party. They’re down to have the arts.”

Psychedelic color schemes and and a boyish exuberance for community might seem to be accompanied by irresponsibility, yet Bremer has definite plans as to how to stay afloat. The lighting, flooring, picture frames, stage, display cases, and any other acoutrements were procured by way of resale or dumpsters. Bremer sells a little online, and takes items on consignment from local artists. Word on the street is that he also is preparing the upstairs of the building for another venture. Economical endeavors such as these, Bremer thinks, will aid in gaining support from the community. “The only way that the businesses down here will survive is by scratching each others backs. We eat at The Rice Palace down the street every other day, to support them. The [downtown] location is phenomenal.” 

With three pianos and a stage in the back of the store, Bremer invites any artist or band to stop by and play away. “They can sound like cats and dogs, that’s fine - though we may not ask them back. Music’s music; if someone wants to put their heart and soul into it, I’m fine with it.” He hopes to get artists in during the day on a regular basis, to add to the ongoing fellowship.

Why The Beatles? “They’ve made such an impact on history themselves,” says Bremer, “They came in at that time where there was so much going on the world, and just took over..the controversies that they’ve put out there are so much fun to talk about.” Bremer says they are timeless. He gets a range of ages in from young kids to retired couples. Also, he’ll never grow tired of them. “They’ve always been a part of me. They have such a wide variety of music to listen to...if you were ever stranded on an island, and could have one artist, they’d be the ones.”

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