Sometimes the best is small, well-worn and unassuming. Sometimes the coolest places to hang and the best stores to patronize are hidden in the dark recesses of urban and suburban areas.
In the heart of Corktown, Detroit, Michigan’s “oldest neighborhood,” is Hello Records. It’s a vinyl lovers dream! It’s located at Bagley and Trumbull (two blocks from the former Tiger Stadium.)
Hello Records is a small cozy space. A really cool, easygoing guy — with a ton of music knowledge — Wade, owns and operates the place. He has jam-packed the small store full of records. I don’t think there is much that he doesn’t have (at least at one time or another.) In Hello Records you’ll an amazing selection of rock, soul/R&B, funk, country and jazz records. Not surprisingly, Motown works are plentiful. I, personally, have loved the selection of 45’s of classic and lesser-known Marvin Gaye albums, compilations and 45’s.
This is a very no-frills store. You won’t find CD’s, DVD’s and cheap music merchandise. You’ll just find LP’s and 45’s at great prices. Since I’ve been buying vinyl the last month or more, I’ve gotten used to checking out antiques malls, digging through boxes of moth-ball-scented records at (various) Salvation Army and other thrift stores. Records in antique stores can be reasonably priced; mostly they’re a tad over-priced. The best you can hope for in a second-hand store is to find maybe two albums out hundreds, that you really like. Not so with Hello Records. The selection is so good — probably due to constant rotation (no pun intended) — I can’t help but walk out of there at least $10 lighter in the wallet. That doesn’t sound like much unless you consider I’m popping in there 3-4 times per week.
Wade knows customer service. His prices are reasonable and he seems inclined to reward customers buying a lot of material at once and repeat business. The quality of most of the higher and mid-priced records is excellent. The records are generally very clean and listenable. If a record has snap, crackle and pop, but is still listenable, you’ll get it for a nice price.
For me, this is one of those places I could imagine myself loitering in for hours! Places like this are all but dead. Hopefully growing interest in vinyl will keep this great place going and other real record will spring up (again) in our cities and suburbs.