Local musician opens record store in Warren's historic district

After four or five years of hauling his vinyl album collection from record convention to convention, John Lehl was ready to settle down. Passing through the city of Warren's historic district, Lehl saw a For Rent sign hanging in the window of a storefront across from Kuhnhenn Brewing. The rest, as they say, is history.

Lehl opened Village Vinyl in April 2017. He characterizes it as a little record shop with a little bit of everything, including vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes, but also t-shirts, posters, coffee mugs, and more.

Lehl carries all kinds of music, though if he did have a specialty, it would be in the punk, hardcore, and metal genres. Which makes sense: Lehl is a member of some of the region's most legendary hardcore and punk bands, including Negative Approach, Easy Action, and the Meatmen.

"I always wanted to open my own shop, it was just a matter of figuring out how to do it and finding the time to do it," says Lehl. "I play in bands and we're on the road a lot. But vinyl is kind of hot right now, so I wanted to strike while the iron's hot."

He got his start selling vinyl albums on Ebay. It was at the urging of Meatmen frontman Tesco Vee that Lehl began lugging boxes of vinyl to sell at record conventions. The business, he says, snowballed from there.

Lehl believes that the city's historic district has a lot of potential for growth. A Warren resident himself, Lehl has long thought that the historic district could one day become a destination. And Village Vinyl could help nudge that growth along. While commercial corridors like Woodward and Gratiot avenues have their fair share of independent record stores, the centrally-located Village Vinyl helps fill a gap somewhere in between the two.

Village Vinyl is located at 5972 Chicago Rd. in Warren.

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Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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