Two new record stores are landing in Brooklyn this spring, both of them owned by the new venture Brooklyn Record Exchange.
Helmed by Andrés Santo Domingo and Keith Abrahamsson (of the Brooklyn label Mexican Summer) and Mike Hunchback and Ben Steidel (proprietors of the record store Co-Op 87), Brooklyn Record Exchange is a used record haven intent on catering to both record-heads and newbies curious to start their vinyl collections.
"There are stores that prioritize the super rare expensive stuff and don’t really pay much attention to the cheaper stuff that gets neglected," as Steidel, an alum of Greenpoint's Academy Records and Amoeba Records in San Francisco, tells Gothamist. "Whereas we certainly love having cool and pricey records in the shop, but we want to make it inviting to somebody who’s not ready to drop 200 on a rare record."
Ten years ago, Mexican Summer opened a record store named Co-Op 87, housed in the same building as their office and studio at 87 Guernsey Street. Initially, the labelowners set up the shop to give their artists, as well as other local labels such as Sacred Bones, some more shine. That eventually evolved into a bigger operation, with Steidel and Hunchback in tow, and garnered a dedicated following for its well-curated used selections.
Over time, though, they wanted "an idea from scratch that we can design and not just be an afterthought in the corner of our building," as Santo Domingo says. Steidel adds that a point came when the diminutive space simply couldn't accommodate the incredible collections they were being offered. That's how they came to find Brooklyn Record Exchange's Bushwick location, which also houses the venue Elsewhere and the restaurant Mission Chinese Food.
A nook with books at the Bushwick location. (Brooklyn Record Exchange).
This Bushwick location opens on Saturday (the forthcoming Greenpoint location, which will be located where Co-Op 87 currently is, will likely open around May, as Abrahamsson tells Gothamist). The space, located on the second floor of the building, is a sunny alternative New York's often-cramped record stores (though we love those, too). There are sizable jazz and dance record selections, crates of experimental gems and soundtracks housed next to a wall displaying cult VHS tapes up for sale.
Given the formidable rotation of artists who come through Elsewhere, it's also entirely possible there will be some "synergy" happening between the store and the venue, as Santo Domingo puts it. What exactly that means remains to be seen, but it wouldn't be a surprise if we saw some in-store performances from visiting artists happening. (Steidel has a show on The Lot Radio as well, so there'll likely be a crossover from DJs from the station coming through the store.)
So many records to sift through at the Bushwick location. (Brooklyn Record Exchange)
Since the Guernsey Street location is a tighter space, the selections there won't be as in-depth as its Bushwick counterpart. But that space will highlight more of the label's own work, as Santo Domingo says. "Greenpoint will have a slightly different edge to it in the sense that we’re gonna have a section that highlights more Mexican Summer stuff and Anthology books," he says, the latter referring to their reissue and publishing arm. People can expect to find a trove of hard-to-find and beloved selections at either locale, though.
As far as what might be available during the Bushwick opening, Steidel highlights "a really killer chunk of reggae and Caribbean records," as well as an "insane amount of disco and house music" and a venerable collection of jazz records. Those with a particular eye on collecting might want to head over posthaste, though. "We’ve been stockpiling for four years now, so it’s been like Christmas getting over here and opening up these boxes that I haven’t looked at since 2015, 2014 even," he says. "If anything the most impressive thing is that we’ve let these collection build over the years. And it’s a shocking amount of hot stuff hitting the floor all at once."
Brooklyn Record Exchange is located at 599 Johnson Ave. It's open from 12 to 8 Sunday through Thursday, and 12 to 9 Friday and Saturday.