Included in Wednesday’s print edition is our Women in Business magazine where we highlight South Okangan women who are making a difference in the community and in the business world. LeAnne Jakubeit, owner of Grooveyard Records embodied all those qualities and more. We thought it was important to recognize LeAnne and all she did to contribute to the community, our youth and the arts.
LeAnne Jakubeit was a woman to be celebrated.
As the founder of Grooveyard Records, she made the funky downtown music store a pivotal part of the Penticton community for over 30 years. She was a role model to many girls and women and a constant supporter of youth and the arts.
Sadly, she died in November 2020 following a courageous battle with cancer.
LeAnne was courageous throughout her life, starting The Grooveyard in a leap of faith as a single mother of two kids.
According to her husband Andrew Jakubeit, former Penticton mayor and co-owner of Grooveyard, LeAnne loved music and she loved people.
“She had a passion for young people and giving them opportunities and experiences. Back when the store was in a larger location, one or two Fridays a month, we would move all the fixtures to one side and have bands come play in the store,” Andrew said. “That way kids would have a chance to hear live music and local bands could have a venue to perform.”
She also used to organize a dry grad fundraiser fashion show at the store where the grads would create outfits made of recyclable materials.
“The kids created some stunning outfits and it was a lot of fun,” he said.
Andrew and LeAnne met 30 years ago when he was one of her suppliers to the record store.
For the next 30 years the happy couple worked together. Andrew taking a behind-the-scenes role in administration while LeAnne was the face of the business.
Even when the music industry was being pummelled with the onset of downloading programs like Napster, the Grooveyard continued to hold on because of the connections LeAnne had made with the community and her customers.
“Having customers that supported her in the very beginning now shopping with their kids or grandkids was very special to her,” said Andrew.
LeAnne was also well-liked in the business community and had been a director with the Penticton Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Penticton Association in the past.
The Grooveyard is one of those iconic stores that has become a beloved fixture downtown. With vinyl records seeing a resurgence, LeAnne was enjoying the renewed passion people had for music. Several celebrities have graced the Grooveyard for a visit too.
“She was most proud of her two kids but also the relationships she had with current and former staff. She always saw the potential and good in people and often hired staff that, at first blush, seemed awkward and shy (not a good fit for retail). But she was a good mentor, cool boss and helped these young people learn a good work ethic and customer relationship skills,” said Andrew.
Jasmine Lamont has worked at the Grooveyard with LeAnne for over 10 years. Now she’s the face of Grooveyard.
“LeAnne was like a second mom to me. She had the best advice. We all looked up to her,” said Lamont.
The Grooveyard manager said she remembers walking into the Grooveyard as a teenager and thinking it was the coolest place in the world.
“I knew someone who helped me get an interview with LeAnne. I remember she asked me who my favourite musician was. I answered David Bowe and I was in. It’s my dream job.”
A former ‘Grooveyard girl’ agrees.
“Leanne was the first female role model I had and I know she was to a lot of other girls as well. She left this world too soon but she left quite a mark on us all and the community she loved. Once a Graveyard girl, always a Graveyard girl,” Kailyn Rose said on Grooveyard’s Facebook when they announced LeAnne’s passing.
Andrew is thankful to have such great staff over the years who helped take care of things while LeAnne was sick. They now continue her legacy.