Vinyl bins inside the store.
In anticipation of Sweat Records
' five-year anniversary party this Saturday, we sat down with Sweat head Lolo Reskin for a chat on the store's past, present and future. If you missed the first two parts yesterday, click here for part on
e, and here for part two
. And, of course, read the final bit of the Q&A below and after the jump. See you at Sweatstock!
Sweatstock. With No Age, ANR, Jacuzzi Boys, MillionYoung, Otto von Schirach, and others. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, April 17. Sweat Records, 5505 NE 2nd Ave., Miami. Admission is free; all ages; 786-693-9309; sweatrecordsmiami.com
New Times: You mentioned before it's overwhelming looking at everything that's available from all the distros. How do you narrow it down? How do you know what people are going to buy?
Lolo: I've been selling music to people in Miami for 11 years now. At Virgin, I would pay super-close attention to what people were buying, unintentionally at first, and then intentionally when I knew that Sweat was going to happen. I think I have pretty good taste in music, or I've been told I do, and I try to get a good cross-section of stuff. Some obscure indie stuff, some mainstream indie stuff, some mainstream mainstream stuff -- we do sell a lot of Lady Gaga on vinyl, and Sade.
We also sell a ton of jazz, more than probably most people would think. And we do used records, but we have to say no to people all the time, to stuff that's considered "thrift" -- Barbra Streisand, old "100 strings," anything you would find in a Goodwill. We do buy soul, funk, disco, anything Miami-related, and we can't keep that stuff on the shelves. We also sell rare records online at Discogs.com.
What's the most unusual or highest-priced item you've sold here recently?
Well, the Beatles box set is $200 and change; that's every album they ever put out in a pretty box, remastered, on CD. We've sold several, actually a whole bunch of them. The most expensive thing we have in the store right now is one copy of the Sigur Ros Year in Frozen Seas box set. That's, like, eight LPs and a beautiful book; it's super-limited edition and way sold-out online.
Has there ever been a point in doing all this when you felt like you should throw in the towel, and how did you get over it?
To be honest, we were a little desponded towards the end of our run in our temporary space in Churchill's, because it was just so hard not having our own storefront. It felt like we had less of an identity. We absolutely knew it was temporary from the beginning, though. The hurricane blew us away from the old storefront in 2005, and we wanted to be open in time for Christmas of that year, and we got offered the space in Churchill's practically for free, so of course we took it.
In the meantime we were looking for other spaces, but nothing was really sticking, and location is so important. And towards the end of the temp space, it got hard to keep going there day after day and feeling like you were in a little box, because it was a little box -- it had no windows.
But finally one day this space became available, and this is the one we had had our eye on it, and we had dibs on it, so we were just waiting for the dibs to come through. That's around the time Jason [Jimenez] came on board. But we didn't ever want to throw in the towel! That would have been the last, last, last resort. We were bummed, but we were dealing with it.
So do you have a five-year plan for the space? It seems like the first five-year plan is always just to stay open. So what now?
Always the goal was to be in a space for a long period of time. For the five-year plan, three of it now includes grant money, so that's awesome, because it's a grant that comes to us over time. We definitely would like to get our systems humming perfectly in sync with one another, have the store digital and really integrated, expand the stuff we carry, like turntable accessories and stuff. We want to be the best record we can be. We definitely aspire to be like Amoeba, Other Music, and Waterloo in Austin.
Anything else you want to add?
The reason we're here is because everyone in Miami is so awesome, and has been so supportive -- when we got hit by the hurricane, when we got robbed. And just on a day-to-day basis people tell us thank you for what we do. It's nice to hear that when you're busting your ass, although we love doing it. We have met so many awesome and sweet people where it's a pleasure to serve them. We feel like local culture public servants in a way, because it's nice to enable all this stuff that's going on.