Miami's newest record store — in spite of its name — is proud to be from the 305. "I was raised in Allapattah," Diane Perez, owner of Brooklyn Vintage & Vinyl, explains, "but my girlfriend was born in Brooklyn, and we always liked it there."
The record store, which celebrated its grand opening November 12, was born from a bit of an existential crisis. "I'm in business school going for my doctorate," Perez says. "A professor asked me what was my passion. It scared me that I couldn't come up with an answer." But the question lingered in Perez's psyche, and after a while, she had the answer: vinyl. An avid collector and passionate music fan, Perez suddenly had a clear vision. "A little while later, I saw this small space open, and I knew this was it. I had been working for corporate America for an insurance company the last 21 years. I gave them my two weeks' notice and started work on the store."
The store specializes in used vinyl Perez has collected over the years. "It's pretty much all records. There are some cassettes and T-shirts we made up with the store's logo for sale. I've bought some collections over the years, so there are a couple records that are still sealed, but we're not selling anything right now that is less than 15 years old. Everything is pretty much from the year 2000 or earlier."
Brooklyn Vintage & Vinyl currently has about 5,000 records in its inventory. The store has space to house up to 9,000 records, but Perez isn't quite ready for that volume yet. "I'm still bringing records in," she says. "I'm still inventorying and pricing the records I do have, but maybe in the future, I'll be open to buying people's collections."
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For now, Perez is taking things slow and steady while savoring every moment of her new venture. During Brooklyn Vintage & Vinyl's grand opening, as the cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon were flowing, she was stunned to see her dream come to fruition. "To see all these people searching through the bins for records — to see the store had no walking room, that was the highlight."
Prices for the shop's records run a wide range. Singles sell for $2.99 and LPs for as low as $4.99, with some reaching $20. "I have a few copies of 'the White Album' by the Beatles. They're not in mint condition, but I expect them to go fast. We have records I saw selling online for $375 that we are selling for $200." Brooklyn Vintage & Vinyl's Tumblr page (brooklynvintageandvinyl.tumblr.com) and Instagram account (@brooklynvintageandvinyl) show some of the store's wonderful gems — from Alvin & the Chipmunks to the Staples Singers to Kraftwerk. But the album most valuable to Perez is one hanging on the wall of the store, not for sale. "The Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat is the one my 9-year-old loves. That's what she always wants to hear. It's not worth much, but because of that, it's my favorite. It shows I've done a good job of raising her."
Brooklyn Vintage & Vinyl, 3454 NW Seventh Ave., Unit C, Miami; 305-575-9160; brooklynvintageandvinyl.tumblr.com.