The new store will open as other record stores are fleeing the nabe for cheaper rent, but the English newcomers say the old guard blew it

How soon is November? English record royalty Rough Trade opening a store in Williamsburg

The Brooklyn Paper
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Selling records is certainly a rough trade in 2013, but that is not stopping an English company from opening a vinyl outlet in Williamsburg, even as other neighborhood purveyors are packing up their wax.

The London-based record label Rough Trade has two stores in its home country and is opening its first U.S. location on Nov. 25 in the neighborhood that has seen record stores flee rising rents in recent years, or fold entirely. An executive at the incoming English chain says that the displacement of old stand-bys like Sound Fix and Academy Records is a testament to those stores’ business practices, not a decline in people buying vinyl.

“If other stores close, that’s a reflection of their own approach rather than the merit and relevance of a record store,” Rough Trade manager Stephen Godfroy said.

Williamsburg’s resident would-be “High Fidelity” cast-members bristled at the suggestion, pointing out that national chains — not just mom-and-pop stores — have fallen victim to the economic problems posed by running a brick-and-mortar store in the iTunes age.

“That’s a pretty shortsighted assessment,” Academy Records owner Mike Davis said of Godfroy’s statement. Davis is in the process of decamping to Greenpoint for cheaper rents and what he says are hipper crowds.

“All of the other companies who have tried it in New York City recently have failed, like Virgin and Tower [Records]. It’s not the fault of a business plan. It’s really just math.”

The new Rough Trade store will include a music venue with performances booked by Bowery Presents and Davis said he anticipates that Rough Trade will make most of its money from drinks and performances.

“I would be amazed if records are more than 10 percent of their revenue,” he said.

Rough Trade has a sister label, Rough Trade Records. Both started up in the 1970s and the label put out albums by break-out bands including the Smiths, the Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, and, in a second incarnation, the Strokes, Arcade Fire, and Belle and Sebastian. The chain of stores has been formally separate from the label since 1983, but both companies still use the same logo.

Rough Trade’s London stores are some of the most popular record stores in all of Europe, according to Godfroy, who hopes to replicate that success in the neighborhood that was an indie epicenter for most of the 2000s.

“Williamsburg appreciates the authentic, places-a-value-on-the-no-frills real deal,” he said. “Being an authentic, real deal record store, where better for us to locate?”

Godfroy declined to list the exact address, but the store will be on N. 9th Street between Wythe and Kent avenues, according to Billboard Magazine.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:15 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
Awesome. Another chain store opens in Williamsburg. Is Faux-Authentic. It will fir right in
Sept. 26, 2013, 4:43 am
diehipster from Mauling Masons says:
In the dictionary next to the word "original" should say: "When tight-jean wearing, filthy try-hards open up a vinyl record shop in North Brooklyn."

This really is a fresh and cutting-edge idea; hipsters sure are ahead of the curve. I'm surprised they haven't opened up coffee shops or Thai restaurants yet - that'll probably be the next big thing, just you wait.
Sept. 26, 2013, 6:25 am
pete from Brooklyn says:

I for one am glad they are opening
a music shop.
And I'm happy to help them pay the rent by buying
music from there.
I like music shops. Hard to share the love online.
Music is not a trend.
Sept. 26, 2013, 8:55 am
Pat I. from 70's brooklyn says:
Will they carry wax cylinders and gramophones as well?
Sept. 26, 2013, 11:13 am
jay from nyc says:
This article does not really do justice to what Rough Trade has been and now is. They were at one point one of the most important independent labels on the planet.
They put out records by bands that major labels would not touch, bands such as the Fall, Pere Ubu, The Rain Coats, the Smiths, The Sundays, Galaxy 500 and Mazzy Star.
They even put out records for the purpose of supporting and donating cash to the family's of coal miners who were thrown out of work by Margret Thatcher. Think Sony would do something like that?
Basically this label helped define the sound and genre of music that is now pretty popular, but 25 years ago was a struggle to get access to because the big corporate labels and big corporate chain stores would not carry this stuff. They helped rid the world of crap bands like Warrant and Winger. For that alone they deserve our thanks!
Sept. 26, 2013, 9:29 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
Diehipster and SwampYankee, why do you hate free enterprise? I suppose you'd rather see people on the dole, sitting around taking government hand-outs instead of risking their time and treasure to start businesses. Well, commies, America is the land of capitalism where we work hard and risk everything in the pursuit of our dreams. If you hate that idea, you hate America, and I suggest you pack up your socialist subversion and move elsewhere. In other words, love it or leave it!
Sept. 27, 2013, 10:31 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
I hate to say this, but:
Diehipster and Swampyankee are hardcore Warrant and Winger fans. They grew up to the best of Bob Seger, but when these bands and there amazing videos came out it really pushed it over the cliff for them.
-John Wasserman/Rockologist
Sept. 27, 2013, 3:13 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Oh my gosh-pardon me! "their", not "there"! Who is the fool now? Pardon the confusion.
Sept. 27, 2013, 3:14 pm
Old time brooklyn from Slope says:
Record stores are great. I can spend an afternoon in them. Most of my records oare in a storage bi. I have 25 feet of shelf space of lp'. I stopped counting years ago by individual lp. A great source wa when somebody would die and thier lp's would get tossed. Throw in a few suitcases of 45's .....
Sept. 27, 2013, 5:55 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Unfortunately these old time record stores are becoming a dying breed. Most of the good LP's are taken or too expensive. I for one am growing tired of stoop sales in which, unless you are a Doobie Brothers or Joan Armertrading fan, you are sharp out of luck. Pardon the interruption.
Sept. 28, 2013, 5:19 pm
Luis Alberto from NYC says:
Hey Jay from NYC - You know that Rough Trade the store and Rough Trade that label are two different companies, right?
Sept. 28, 2013, 9:15 pm
jay from nyc says:
Luis yes I do know that, again try reading my post that stated "at one time", seems obvious to me, but then again I know the history and apparently you don't. The label and the store split from each other later on, but they originally were one company. All that being said, what is your point? Does not seem that you have one.
Sept. 29, 2013, 1:36 pm

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