You won't find many who know more about Latin Music than Vicente Barreiro, co-owner of Casa Latina Music Shop on 116th Street in East Harlem. He's been there more than a half-century, and it all started when he met Christina at a Manhattan Dance Club.
What You Need To Know
- Casa Latina Music Shop opened in 1966 on 116th Street in East Harlem
- Owners Vicente and Christina Barreiro took over the business after the death of founder Alfonso Rubio, Christina's Father
- The shop sells records, tapes, CDs, and musical instruments, specializing in Latin Music, like Salsa
- Casa Latino has drawn some of the biggest names in Latin Music over the years including Tito Puente, Joe Cuba and Machito
"We used to go dancing, and we got married and her father had the store, not this one he had another store two-doors down, and he asked me if I wanted to work there," said Barreiro.
His answer was yes, to Christina's Dad Alfonso Rubio. Rubio bought the current shop in 1966, and when he passed away in 1978, Vicente and Christina started running the business.
Barreiro added musical instruments to the records, tapes, and CDs sold here over the years, specializing in Latin sounds like salsa.
The store became a popular spot for the greats of Latin Sound to stop by and talk music with Barreiro. The pandemic hasn't been kind to music stores like Casa Latina, as many customers who would stop in got accustomed to ordering online.
Not to mention streaming services impacting what record companies decide to distribute, so stock of popular items is dwindling.
"It's a completely different environment right now. But we still have the old timers that always come in," said Christina Barreiro, who co-owns the shop.
Along the way the Barreiro's raised four children and their store has remained a staple in a changing neighborhood. Looking back, Vicente Barreiro says he wouldn't have had it any other way.
"I'm happy that I was here, and I'm still here, and I had my best years here," said Barreiro.