Flat, Black and Circular adds square footage and inventory

Flat, Black and Circular started out in a space about the size of a small walk-in closet. Today, the 37-year-old East Lansing store at 541 E. Grand River is knocking down walls to make room for its fourth expansion in 20 years.
 
"The way we look at it, the more years that go by the more stuff there is in the world," says Jon Howard, FBC manager and buyer. "It's inevitable that we expanded."
 
The iconic music reseller started as a partnership between Dick Rosemont and Dave Bernath to support their vinyl-buying habit. While audio formats have changed and evolved, the store has remained true to vinyl, making it well-poised for the resurgence of all things 33-and-a-1/3 RPM.
 
"Right now, vinyl is trendy with younger kids who want to build a collection," says Howard. "They've gotten hold of their parent's stereos and see it's good to have something tangible in their hands rather than all digital."
 
Howard estimates that the store currently houses 20,000 pieces of vinyl, a few thousand CDs, hundreds of DVDs, and even a few hundred cassettes. The store acquires most of its inventory through items that people bring in to sell. Other inventory comes through "the hunt" of garage and estate sales, liquidations, and through word-of-mouth.
 
Howard says the current expansion will add 300 square feet to the existing 1,300-square-foot store. Plans are to move in a few rolling shelves, fill them with classical selections, and create a quieter space for the classical aficionado. Part of the new space will also be set aside for displaying miscellaneous musical equipment.
 
"We're browsing friendly, and everything is in alphabetical order," says Howard. "We're also not musical snobs at all. We will all admit that we like some horrible music."
 
FBC staff includes Howard, Bernath and one part-time worker. Rosemont, who moved to Santa Fe New Mexico, serves as a consultant.
 
Source: Jon Howard, Manager and Buyer, Flat, Black and Circular
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor
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