Evan Nicole Brown
The newest venture from Brooklyn-based independent record label, Mexican Summer, is Brooklyn Record Exchange, a record store opening in Bushwick on Sunday, March 30. With music veterans from Mexican Summer along with Mike Hunchback and Ben Steidel of Co-op 87 Records (a record shop housed in Mexican Summer’s Greenpoint headquarters) at the helm, this new store promises to supply the Brooklyn community with a wide array of vinyls. Later this spring, a second Brooklyn Record Exchange store will open in Greenpoint, closer to Mexican Summer’s office space and recording studio.
The Bushwick location opening this week is in the same complex as Elsewhere, a beloved Bushwick music venue, so the sonic theme of the building will remain strong. “When we learned Elsewhere had a space open in their building that just made perfect sense to me, [since] it was already a building where people and music were going to be around,” said Ben Steidel, co-owner of Co-op 87 Records. “Even if [people] are coming to the club at midnight they’re going to see the record store and maybe want to come the next day.”
Steidel and his collaborators started planning Brooklyn Record Exchange two years ago, and zeroed in on Bushwick in particular because “there’s a lot of younger artists and musicians living in this neighborhood.”
The store will boast roughly 30,000 records of all genres—from classic rock, reggae, to jazz—and will have a dedicated area for Mexican Summer’s specialty format releases.
The collaboration between the record label and record store is the result of their shared Greenpoint space, so creating a larger record store together was always part of their eventual plan.
When the team (and their records) started outgrowing Co-op 87’s small space, it was time to create a musical destination that could effectively house the group’s impressive record collection and showcase the work Mexican Summer is doing.
This mix of vintage reissues, new music, movies, and books, is sure to keep the community satisfied and the potential for music discovery high. “We’re aiming to be a store that appeals to everyone,” Steidel said. “We’re not a store that caters to hardcore collectors or a store that only has whatever’s hot and new or solely caters to DJs. We want it to be welcoming to everyone.” The team has been buying and stockpiling records for years, and according to Steidel, “all the sections are looking pretty strong.”
In our current era of digital downloads and streaming culture, a classic record store allows people to consume music in a way that feels slightly more authentic…and demands that they leave the house.
“The big difference between record stores now and record stores 10 years ago or more, is that back in the day if you had a passing interest in music and wanted it in your home, you had to go to the record store,” Steidel said. Music has always served as a representation of who we are, and Steidel feels that the particular power of record stores lies in what it provides to the consumer, “The ownership of things is a way [for people] to build their identity.”
Whether you’re casually curious about music or it’s a significant part of your life, Mexican Summer and Co-op 87 hope that Brooklyn Record Exchange will be both functional and feel nice to explore.
All images courtesy of Brooklyn Record Exchange.
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