In its 14 years of existence, Sweat Records has endured everything from hurricanes to break-ins. However, it's no match for Miami's latest disaster: gentrification, which is quickly sucking the city dry of any unique characteristics. According to Sweat
"We found out recently that we have to move, and we’re using the opportunity to expand," a written announcement from Sweat reads. "We're sad to leave our current space behind as it's been a great third home, but we're already working to ensure that our fourth home is here in Little Haiti and are planning some incredible changes and improvements."
Reskin says she's not ready to announce the location of the new shop because the paperwork hasn't been finalized. However, the possible new space would offer more room for merchandise and live music, which is what Sweat does best, she says. In fact, Sweat is one of the few all-ages venues where kids can see live acts without being confronted by a doorman asking for ID.
"We wouldn't be here without the support of the community," Reskin says. "We know people value us and are going to support us in the move."
Reskin and Sara Yousuf, a former WVUM DJ, opened Sweat Records in 2005 on NE Second Avenue and 24th Street in Edgewater. Then, that October, Hurricane Wilma tore a hole in the roof. With the vinyl revolution still years away and the business so new, Sweat was forced to relocate 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 room, which lacked street-facing windows or signs, Reskin moved the shop to the building next door, at 5505 NE Second Ave. But Sweat's troubles persisted. In 2008, thieves broke into the store, smashed the Coral Morphologic custom-built saltwater aquarium, and took off with $13,000 in electronics. The store was hit again, in 2011, when burglars stole cash and an iMac used to track inventory. (Sweat recovered the computer thanks to its tracking software.)
The shop also struggled early on with A/C issues, but with the help of Miami resident and punk legend Iggy Pop, Sweat hosted a benefit to come up with repair money. Pop gave his blessing for his likeness to be used on a T-shirt designed by Claudio Picasso, and the store held a show with
Sweat has also won several Knight Foundation arts grants that help keep programming at the store alive year-round.
In light of all the trials Sweat has survived, a move to a new and potentially larger location seems like a godsend. During the transition period, Sweat is asking customers to provide feedback on what they like about the store and what they'd want to see in the new space. You can fill out the survey at bit.ly/sweat4survey.
And not to worry: Sweat's Record Store Day event this Saturday, April 13, will go on as planned. The shop will open at 8 a.m. and offer many of the RSD-exclusive releases, along with sets by DJ Hottpants, Pam Jones, Laura of Miami, Deejay Smeejay, and others. As usual, Sweat will program the stage at Churchill's from noon to 6 p.m.; expect live performances by Suzi Analogue, Richie Hell, Palomino Blond, Butterfly Snapple, and Florence & Normandie.
Sweat Records. 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786-693-9309; sweatrecordsmiami.com.
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