Strolling through Rough Trade's new 10,000 square-foot Williamsburg location, co-owner Stephen Godfroy sounded like a demure Willy Wonka as he ticked off the wonders that will be soon be available to customers when the store opens tomorrow morning. "We have learned that we can be more audacious with how we create an environment," Godfroy told reporters over the clamor of hammering and shouting.
Vinyl listening stations will be "peppered along the peripheral walls," boasting three titles per kiosk—"You'll be able to see them click and whir." 5 Leaves Coffee will be selling hot and cold goods out of a repurposed 40-foot shipping container (the space is full of repurposed 40-foot shipping containers). As many as 20,000 records will be in stock at any given time.
In-store performances, readings, Q&As, and workshops will be complimented with draft beer and wine (and liquor soon), though it's not quite accurate to call them "in-store," as Rough Trade's 250-seat venue is separate from the retail space. The two rooms are connected to by a catwalk and several different entrances. "It's a mini Bowery!" one reporter cooed, which is true in the sense that Bowery Presents will be responsible for booking Rough Trade's ticketed events.
There is a wooden enclosure on the 5,000 square-foot mezzanine to tweet and sip your coffee. There is a shipping container sponsored by The Guardian designed as a "celebration of independent journalism." Brooklyn shoppers will be able to interact with Rough Trade customers in the UK via the miracle of modern technology. A photo booth will memorialize your experience for $5. Childish Gambino, Donald Glover's rap project, has a lofted, audio-visual rendering of a virtual bedroom (sponsored by Tumblr).
A DJ booth is imminent.
"This store is about wandering around," Godfroy explained, contrasting it with Rough Trade's flagship store in London, a tiny shop where you might feel intimidated by the encyclopedic knowledge of a clerk who can't help but see what record you're reaching for. Rough Trade's second UK location is 5,000 square feet, half the size of the space on North 9th Street.
"It will be totally defined on how it's used…It's not a shop for nerds, and it's not going to be too cool for school. It's a place where Moms and their buggies can come and have a coffee. It's a neighborhood space…Please think of this as your store."
Godfrey said that Manhattan was never considered for a Rough Trade location, but that it would take some time before Rough Trade Williamsburg finds its personality: "It will start very sterile."
Godfrey is aware that Rough Trade's appearance in the neighborhood is Excruciatingly Brooklyn, and stresses that he's looking to give smaller record stores "a leg up," not put them out of business. "We're looking to complement the smaller stores, hopefully it helps them."
The co-owner also wears a healthy sense of humor about the venture. Asked about all the shipping containers, Godfroy says he was inspired by Freitag's store in Zurich. "It would have sounded a bit more original when we were planning it two years ago than it does now."
Rough Trade's location at 64 North 9th Street opens tomorrow at 9 a.m., and Sky Ferreira will be its first in-store performance at 7 p.m.