If you haven't been living in a cave the last few months (don't feel bad if you have, caves are cool!), you probably heard the sad news that one of the great metro-Detroit culture landmarks, Record Time of Ferndale is closing. The store is one of the few remaining places to buy real vinyl records, and also features a great selection of new and used cds and dvds. The store is one of two Record Time stores currently open. It will close March 26 and be survived by Record Time of Roseville and "the other used record shop", Record Collector located across the street…
(All images by Jason Mick, courtesy of Record Time)
Record Time was founded in 1983 by Mike Himes, who wanted to use the store to share his love of music and make a name for Michigan in the Midwest techno scene. Since then it has blossomed into a gathering place for lovers of all music genres from indie to hip hop, from pop to electro. Some of its perhaps unsavory hip hop regulars in the '90s included Kid Rock, Eminem, and the Insane Clown Posse in their tender formative years.
With the advent of alternative/pop punk/indie rock, the store became a much beloved place for those in these music scenes. The store also drew some performances from greats in these genres, including: O.A.R, Pedro the Lion, Sponge, Brand New, and the Amino Acids. Perhaps more importantly it featured many more shows by local and small time indie/acoustic/punk acts on the verge of stardom. This emphasis on the local music scene, really makes me happy to think about as there is so much talent in Detroit. Record Time truly has made a difference in the local music scene, and was a true embodiment of the Detroit Chic spirit.
Pictured: The front area of the Ferndale Record Time store features a rich selection of cds and dvds
Sadly all things must come to an end and now the store is paring down to one store. As I've been frequenting Record Time for five years now, since my freshie year (I was a late bloomer), the news had a significant impact on me as I'm sure it did on many of you. I figured it would only be fitting to give it a proper eulogy by writing this article and doing a brief interview with the store employees.
Pictured: Record Time features an enviable collection of 45s along with many full sized records. It also features a number of turntables where you can test your new record on to ensure its quality, a courtesy many of its competitors do not afford.
I spoke with Lavelle Williams, the store manager, and Bob Erxleben (possibly an alias), a former employee. The pair shared with me a bit about the store. The store did not rise out of the sea in a seashell, rather it opened in June of '99 and has been in business for 8 years now. The store's opening coincided with the Rochester store's closing, when it was "hijacked by pirates" according to Mr. Erxleben.
In order to pare down the contents of the store so it can be squeezed into the Roseville location, there is a huge sale going on until the store closes, perhaps a shred of light in the darkness created by the bad news. Mr. Erxleben graciously described the sale, stating, "It's 15% off new dvds, 25% off everything else new, and 30% off used stuff… and hugs and kisses are free!"
Mr. Lavelle agrees that the closing of the store is a "sign of the times". He relates the difficulty of Record Time's position stating, "Basically, we've been fighting technology and the economy."
Pictured: Lavelle Williams (left) shares a laugh with Bob Erxelben (right). Mr. Williams is the current manager of Record Time of Ferndale and while optimistic is saddened by its impending departure.
However Mr. Lavelle remains optimistic stating, "Basically we're moving everything to Roseville. We're looking to create a superstore, and just make the Roseville store the best we can. We're going to see what we can do."
It is well known that the store has a large fan base, and is a table name among young music enthusiasts in the Detroit area. Record Time's mission is certainly a noble one — bring in some great local acts, expose people to great music, provide friendly and knowledgable customer service, and most of all create a bright spot for music lovers of all walks of life to gather. While the economy may look grim, here's to hoping that the Roseville location thrives and that maybe one day another second location will be born. My personal request for you is even if its a bit more of a drive, go to the Roseville location and buy stuff, show it your support. After all that Record Time has done for the Detroit music scene, it is our responsibility as consumers to keep afloat in these troubled times.
Pictured: The sight of music lovers perusing bountiful record bins is just one of the marvellous memories of Record Time Ferndale, which many hold.
And until it closes enjoy the sale — hey, even the bins are on sale! Also please check out Record Time's site. They sell a lot of stuff online, and if you can't make it out to their Roseville location it's a great way to maintain your patronship.
The store's hours until the March 26 close will be:
Mon-Thur 12-8 pm
Fri-Sat 12-9 pm
Don't miss a chance to go back and say "Goodbye" to an old friend, one last time .
Pictured: When leaving Record Time of Ferndale, in its final days you have to be like Dylan in the movies — don't look back. It might be too painful a sight if you do.