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A Record Shop Reborn

“The average person would have looked at it and seen a disaster zone,” Mikey Ramirez says from inside the record shop formerly known as CD Collector(1930 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale). “We saw an opportunity we had to jump on.” You see, until six months ago, it was business as usual in the wax haven: DJ’s were squeezing past one another and having quippish debates over the validity of bands like Yes, Rush, and Steely Dan (turns out Steely Dan is just fine). Other shoppers hunkered down in a corner, searching for that perfect Genesis album, while more causal browsers were choosing records based on the old wine bottle criteria – inexpensive but with an interesting label. And it was heaven. Heaven got crowded, though. The higher ups realized that they had outgrown their shell; they needed to do something on a grand scale if they were to keep upgrading the inventory. “We decided that we had to change our infrastructure and how we did business to stay competitive,” said Ramirez. That’s when the landlord mentioned the back room.

It had been purgatory for unwanted goods and garbage, but it was twice the size of the shop’s floor space, and it would connect smoothly to the existing shop if they knocked down a wall. Six months of labor and many coats of citrus-colored paint later, the extension has been transformed into a multi-functional playground for all who come to browse, talk shop, or just to chillax between paychecks with a tiny glass bottle of Coca-Cola. There are squishy tan futons in a staged living room area in one corner and high-top chrome diner tables and stools where the coffee bar will be. Rows and rows of newly added records are already receiving grateful flips by customers. But most exciting of all is the stage. “We want to start doing a lot of in-house shows,” Ramirez says. “A good record store has to be active within the community.”

The timing couldn’t be better. Fort Lauderdale’s recently lost several integral music venues, and musicians have found themselves displaced within their own town. This space could act as a unifier – something that will be tried out during CD Collector’s Grand Reopening Party. On Saturday bring all of your friends out to see the new digs, eat some free home-cooked food, down some sodas, and hang out while the bands Animals of the Arctic, Protoman, and the Harshmellows all test the durability of the new stage. In between bands, dance to live sets from DJ Matt Cash, Stravinsky, Plot, and loads more. Also unveiled is the store’s new handle: Radio-Active Records. “All the same people are still here; we aren’t going anywhere,” Ramirez assures us, “but we wanted a name that represented who we were growing into.” Radio-Active Records’ grand reopening party is from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., and it’s free bitches.

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Jamie Laughlin

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