In April, Sweat Records announced it was given until this fall to vacate its longtime home on NE Second Avenue next door to Churchill's Pub. Fall came and the store stayed put.
This past weekend, Sweat confirmed what everyone probably already suspected: The move isn't happening. The shop posted the news on Facebook: "We're excited to finally be able to share that we're NOT moving after all & will be STAYING in our beloved space in Little Haiti for the foreseeable future."
So what happened? According to founder Lauren "Lolo" Reskin, she and Sweat co-owner Emile Milgrim never really wanted to move. "Moving is the worst, especially when you’re a long-standing business with your store info all over the internet," Reskin says. The shop had been subleasing the space and was informed earlier this year that the rent would double. However, Reskin says, since then, they've been able to negotiate a new lease directly with the landlord at a price they can afford.
Even though Sweat is staying put, Reskin says they plan to continue innovating at the store and change with the needs of shoppers. "One of the big reasons we’re still here is that we adapt to change well and constantly seek feedback from our customers," Reskin says. Recently, the store updated its layout, launched a sleek new website, and brought in new merchandise.
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This past Tuesday, Reskin appeared on the Today show as part of the morning program's segment featuring small businesses across the nation in anticipation of Small Business Saturday — the alternative to Black Friday, when shoppers flock to big-box stores for deals. Reskin, who stood in front of a mock Sweat Records storefront, appeared briefly but was ultimately there to reinforce the point that supporting local businesses is good for the community.
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"We haven’t really spoken publicly about it, but I’m not going to mince words: We’ve had a hard year," Reskin tells New Times. "I’ve heard the same from a wide variety of fellow business owners. It’s partially the well-documented struggles most brick-and-mortar retailers are facing, plus election cycle times are harder too as people don’t feel as stable... We provide so much extra — often immeasurable — value for our communities, and many of us are fighting for survival."
Sweat Records is no stranger to fighting for its survival. Reskin and Sara Yousuf, a former WVUM DJ, debuted the concept in 2005. The first shop was located in Edgewater until Hurricane Wilma tore a hole in the roof that October. Sweat was forced to move to Churchill's Pub, where the store set up shop in a small room sandwiched between the punk club's backyard bar and green room. After a year in that 400-square-foot space, Reskin relocated the shop to its current site, 5505 NE Second Ave.
Sweat Records. 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786-693-9309; sweatrecordsmiami.com.