All That Jazz celebrates 30 years of business in Steamboat

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All That Jazz owner Joe Kboudi circa 1977.

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All That Jazz owner Joe Kboudi now.

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All That Jazz owner Joe Kboudi.

During the past 30 years, All That Jazz owner Joe Kboudi has seen a lot of people walk through the glass doors of his business on Lincoln Avenue. And the faces still look familiar.

"All my customers were my friends in the '70s, and now they've gotten married and had kids, and now their kids are coming in," he said last week while sitting at his office desk on a rainy spring morning. "I've seen three generations grow up and buy music in this town."

All That Jazz, Steamboat's independent record and gift store, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, having begun in 1977 in a small space in the Harbor Hotel. Since then, Kboudi has cut his hair, gotten married, moved his business up a block, become a father and helped start a popular free concert series. He never looks back and always moves forward.

"My plan was to have the business for 3 1/2 years, sell the store and move to Hawaii," he said. "That was a long time ago."

Nick Marzano, a part-time All That Jazz employee, said working for Kboudi has been a treat and a little bit of a mystery.

"There's a second Joe Kboudi in his head that no one will ever understand," he said. "We all get to see one Joe Kboudi, but I don't always know what's going on up there. He's got a few more gears, locks, bells and whistles than the rest of us."

Main Street Steamboat program manager Tracy Barnett agreed.

"He's such a character, that little, quirky guy," she said. "Everybody knows him. Everybody loves him. He's always thinking in a million different directions."

Kboudi said it's that mentality that has kept him in business for three decades.

"You have to have energy, and you have to keep that energy up or your business won't be successful," he said. "It's a great life. If you have to work, this is what you want to be doing."

Kboudi's energy is unrivaled, his friends say.

"Joe is the youngest 65-year-old I know," said friend and colleague John Waldman of Great Knight Productions. "He still enjoys and gets excited about life. He's excited to go skiing, he's excited to play softball. He's like a little kid."

It's a characterization Kboudi doesn't mind being saddled with, because that energy comes from his passion for music, he said.

"I'm still sometimes the oldest adult at a Levelz show," he said. "I love music because it changes - it's new, it's funky and fresh and exciting."

Kevin King, a 10-year employee and current store manager, described All That Jazz as an "irreverent slice of life."

"He totally lives for this business," King said. "He never stops."

While Kboudi's passion for music has driven him for so many years, it's hearing his employees' and customers' music memories that keep him entertained.

"People come into the store all the time to talk music," he said. "They want to talk about their most recent concert, who they saw, who was backstage, who they're going to see."

Always looking ahead, Kboudi wants to expand the store to a new location - but he's not ready to say where.

"I think the local music and local bookstores are important fixtures in any community, especially a small community," he said. "I hope that when my time is over, that the store stays in the hands of a passionate music person."

King said he is confident the eclectic music store will continue on as it has the past 30 years.

"Here's to another 30," he said. "It's been fun."

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