If you’ve strolled down Gay Street lately, you’ve probably spotted the above scene, where reconstruction work is underway on the building located at 51 East Gay Street. While it doesn’t look like much at the moment, what you’re going to find inside this space in a few months will hopefully surprise and impress you.
“Vinyl Frontier” is the retail/entertainment brainchild of Justin Crockett, which will feature unique items for sale, live music performances, and a decorative theme that may scare small children. Justin is planning to have the shop open sometime in May or June, and we recently spoke with him for a Q&A session to find out more:
Q: First, can you tell us a bit about your background as it relates to your new business?
A: I have a BA in aviation from OSU and have spent the last 15 years working as a firefighter/paramedic, so it was clearly just a matter of time before I opened my own music shop. I did grow up in the world of small business (my folks run a jewelry store in Yellow Springs) and I worked in a little record shop all through high school, so it’s not a complete 180 degree turn for me.
Q: How would you describe the concept at Vinyl Frontier?
A: When most people hear the name, they go right to the Star Trek futuristic thing, but that’s not at all the concept. The idea is that an unnamed catastrophe has destroyed our civilization. From the rubble emerges a mysterious cloaked DJ who unites the survivors through music. Decor-wise, I’m going for a look I’ve termed “Gothic Apocalypse” (gothpocalypse if you like). Like If Anne Rice had designed the set for Terminator. The Vinyl Frontier is my response to the current state of retail, which usually just bores the crap out of me. With the availability of product on the internet, people don’t have to leave their houses to buy stuff. Traditional shopping is becoming more of a form of entertainment. The idea behind the Vinyl Frontier is to create a space that is dynamic and interesting. The kind of place you have to take your out of town friends to. I hope that wasn’t too long an answer. Half way through I kind of forgot what the question was.
Q: Haha! That sounds like a really great concept. Is opening a retail shop something you’ve wanted to do for awhile?
A: I’d been kicking around different concepts for a record store since I was a teenager, but after watching my parents run their store I promised myself that I would never open my own shop. Owning a business always reminded me of subscribing to the New Yorker. You like the idea of it but pretty quickly you realize that there are just to many issues to keep up with. But the more I thought about the shop the more I knew that it was something I had to try or I would regret it later.
Q: Besides vinyl, what other types of products will the shop carry?
A: I plan on dedicating a lot of space to visual art. There will be limited edition concert posters, photography, graphic novels, animation Blurays, et cetera. I also plan to carry a limited amount of clothing and accessories. I really wanted to carry a diverse range of products that aren’t available elsewhere in Columbus. One line I’m very excited about is Sonic Fabric — they’re based out of Brooklyn. They make ambient recordings then weave fabric from the audio tapes and make ties, purses, etc. You are able to actually listen to your tie.
Q: What drew you to this location on Gay Street?
A: I live on Spring Street and have witnessed the momentum growing here. I’m very excited about the potential of this neighborhood. Also, I was looking for a space that matched the vision I had for the design of the store and fell in love with this space the second I walked in.
Q: Spoonful Records is located not far away on Long Street. Do you think the businesses will be competitive, or complement each other?
A: On paper it looks like there would be some market saturation, but I think that the two stores will be different enough from each other that the effect will be more complementary than competitive.
Q: What are the planned hours of operation at the new shop?
A: Right now I’m planning to be open Monday through Thursday 11am to 7pm, Friday & Saturday 11am to 11pm and Sunday 11am to 5pm.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: If any musicians, bands or visual artists are interested in having their work for sale at the Vinyl Frontier, or are interested in performing in the shop, they can contact me at email@example.com.
Photo of Justin Crockett by Chris Walker Photography.