April 10, 1930 – Alphonso Riede was born in Toronto, Ontario, the only child of Alphons and Katharine Hingel Riede. His father was a wood sculptor who served in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, the Riede family moved to Santa Barbara, and Alphonso graduated from high school there, before majoring in music composition and piano at Santa Barbara State College (now UC Santa Barbara).
In 1952, he was drafted into the Army and stationed in Europe during the Korean War. After his return to Santa Barbara, “he took a trip to Finland to learn all he could about his favorite composer, Sibelius. By that time he had a substantial LP collection of classical music and this collection was to grow throughout his life, a life of classical music appreciation.”
Alphonso discovered Mendocino when a friend invited him to vacation with her, saying she would show him a special place. “We came to Mendocino and I was stricken by it. I returned to Santa Barbara and told my neighbors about it and we said, ‘Wow, let’s all go up!’ and we did,” he said in a 2003 interview with Amy Katz of the Beacon.
By the end of 1969, he had rented the Everson building (where Barge North is located in 2022) on Main Street, and his store opened in January 1970. A 1976 ad for his store promised, “The best selection of Classical Records between Chicago and Tokyo (on a straight line) PLUS incense, papers, beads and high class junque.” In 2003, Amy described Alphonso as, “the man who owns the shop on Main Street that rents videos, sells single cigarettes, books, and other things.”
Alphonso married Nancy Ann Yolles in 1985. Nancy and Alphonso met in 1975 when she wandered into his store one day. She was really on her way to the bookstore down the street, but she stopped in because his store was open. “I was open all hours,” he said. Nancy passed away in 1992.
Alphonso sold his business in October 2003 and “retired comfortably with his dog Bailey and cat Fred in Fort Bragg surrounded in the warmth of his enormous collection of classical music recordings, his collection of paintings and with a number of his father’s carvings.”
Alphonso died in 2009, after a long period of declining health. His cousins, John Glaser and Felix Gumbinger of Ontario were his only living relatives. “He will be missed dearly by his many friends and by his devoted caregiver, Patricia Darland.”
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