‘A record store is a destination store’: Dearborn Music to open second shop in downtown Farmington

For all the stories you read about how no one buys music anymore, you wouldn’t know it from walking into Dearborn Music on a Sunday afternoon. The place teems with people thumbing through new and used vinyl records, CDs, books, and more. And with 6,400 sq. ft. of retail space, Dearborn Music’s large footprint still offers plenty of space for COVID-conscious social distancing.

Their footprint is about to get a whole lot bigger: Dearborn Music will be opening a second retail location in downtown Farmington this summer.

“I've been looking for a second location for quite some time now, and especially in the last five years,” says Rick LeAnnais, co-owner and president of Dearborn Music.

“What really pushed us over was that we bought a whole bunch of used product in the past six months. It’s in storage so what should we do with it? We decided a second location would be a good idea, especially with the rebirth, or whatever you want to call it, of vinyl.”

The old Dressbarn in downtown Farmington. (Photo by David Lewinski)Dearborn Music will be opening its new location in the old Dressbarn store in Farmington this summer. While it’s too early to say exactly when, LeAnnais estimates that it could be this July.

He has two storage units full of vinyl records and CDs burning a hole in his back pocket, ready to fill up the 6,200 sq. ft. storefront, 4,700 sq. ft. of which will be dedicated to retail. Much like their flagship location in Dearborn, fans of the store can expect both new and used music, books, games, clothing, and more at the new spot in Farmington.

LeAnnais credits the resurgence of vinyl record sales as one of the keys to the family-owned business’s success. He co-owns the record store with brother Kevin; the pair bought the business from their father in 2001. Their dad originally bought the business in 1956.

“Running a record store in 2021 is a lot different than it was in 2003 through 2008. Those years were very depressing. You were looking to find ways to get customers into the store,” LeAnnais says.

“Between 2003 and 2008, some 3,500 independent record stores closed in that five year span. In 2021, with vinyl coming back, it's fun again. It’s fun coming into work, buying used vinyl, buying new vinyl. It’s like, okay, this is finally coming back. So, it's a lot easier now than it was back then.”

Because Dearborn Music fulfills their own online orders, they know that they have a good customer base in places like Farmington, Northville, and Novi, which is one of the reasons they chose downtown Farmington as the site for their second location.

Of course, LeAnnais believes the store’s net will cast much wider.

“A record store is a destination store. So we're not gonna just be pulling people from Farmington, we’ll be pulling people from the surrounding communities. It's gonna bring more people downtown, and maybe for the first time. They’re going to get a chance to look at the farmers market or some of the restaurants down there, the other shops,” LeAnnais says.

“All the time we have people telling us that they drove an hour just to get here.”

Dearborn Music is celebrating their 65th anniversary all month long with sales, specials, giveaways, and more at their location in west downtown Dearborn, which is located at 22501 Michigan Ave. Their second location will be located at 33025 Grand River Ave. in downtown Farmington.

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