Dearborn's Stormy Records celebrates 20 years of business with concerts, giveaways, and more

Twenty years of selling records.

It’s incredibly difficult for any business to stay open for twenty years, let alone one in the business of selling music. It was hard enough several years ago when music downloads were the preferred mode for music consumption. Nowadays people hardly even own music, they just stream it.

Yet Stormy Records remains. Wife-and-husband duo Windy Weber and Carl Hultgren first opened their store in Dearborn in 1999 and they’ve remained in the city ever since, albeit in six different storefronts. The current location is on Michigan Avenue in east downtown Dearborn.

Keeping nimble is one of the ways in which they’ve been able to stay open. Anyone with a collection of vinyl records knows how much of a pain it is to move them. Imagine moving a whole store’s worth. Weber and Hultgren do everything they can to make sure that Stormy Records stays open.

They work hard, pure and simple.

"We keep our personal bills low, we have made sure our leased locations have had affordable rents and then have been careful with how we spent any of the money we made. When times are slow with foot traffic and in-store shoppers, we have relied heavily on mail orders," Weber says.

"We work all day, even when we are not in the shop--there is always something that needs to be done for the shop while we are at home or traveling to and from the house to work. It simply is that way every day, and we accepted that long ago."

That’s not to say that the business is a daily grind; it’s just the opposite, it seems. Weber and Hultgren clearly find joy in what they do. They live and breathe music, selling it but also performing as the ambient duo Windy and Carl. Should they ever retire, Weber says they would focus even more on their own personal art and music projects.

It’s that love of music that fuels them, day in and day out. Weber can recount any number of interactions with customers, delighting in the moments when she can help people find what they’re looking for or discover something new. Like the time she helped a woman find a 45 rpm single that her father had recorded. Or when she helped a six year old boy buy his first LP.

Weber and Hultgren have made countless friends at Stormy. And they’ve hosted concerts from famous musicians right there inside the shop, including ones from Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, and Bonnie Prince Billy.

They’ll be celebrating 20 years of Stormy Records this Saturday, July 20, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be live music from Davin Brainard of PDM and Time Stereo (with special guest The Electric Bear), Harmonic Conversion, and Distorted Earth. There will be store-wide specials and giveaways. Stormy Records t-shirts and stickers will be on sale for the first time in a while. The event is free and open to the public.

Twenty years is a reason to celebrate and that’s just what they’ll do.

"[Staying open] is a testament to how bull headed we are, how resourceful we are at making things work. We are surprised in some ways to have made it this long--the industry has changed so much and so many times and riding the wild waves of that change has been truly challenging at times," Weber says.

"I am proud of us for making it work, and I love that for 20 years we have been helping people find music that makes their lives better. For as much work as it is, Carl and I really love what we do."

Stormy Records is located at 13306 Michigan Ave. in east downtown Dearborn.

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