Oak Cliff has undergone quite the reinvention over the past half-dozen years or so. The Bishop Arts District has blossomed with coffee shops, art boutiques, restaurants and bars. Further down Main St., the iconic Kessler Theater has experienced a full-on revival. And now, thanks to David Grover and his upstart Spinster records, the neighborhood can add another feather to its cap: hi-fi vintage record store.
But Spinster Records, which will open in the fall at 829 W. Davis Street, will offer more than just vinyl. Spinster will be an all-encompassing music lifestyle store, offering new and used records, turntables and even music-inspired clothing and accessories. It'll also host various live acts coupled with record signings and meet-and-greets between bands and their fans.
Grover has spent 30 years as a musician, DJ, writer, producer and club promoter. But it was while he was out biking with a local group in Dallas that a casual conversation about vinyl discussed that the seeds of inspiration were first sown in Grover's mind. A life-long vinyl collector, he immediately recognized a need in the Oak Cliff area that he would eventually seek to fulfill.
"I thought it would really be a great idea to have a place where you could hear music, see music, see bands, and maybe do some record signings and have a central place for music," Grover recalls.
He decided on Oak Cliff due to its artistic inclination and because he felt it embraced small businesses like his own. "I noticed that in Oak Cliff, which is full of artists, musicians and creative types, there really wasn't a place at all over here," he says." And I thought that was so strange."
Wanting to take hold of this rift in the area, he sought to create a space that wasn't just a place to buy vinyl, but a place for people to congregate, discuss music and appreciate it in its physical form.
"I wanted to do a store that really specialized in vinyl records and turntables and the analog side of the music," Grover says.
In Spinster, a wide choice of turntables will be available for purchase and repair services will be offered to customers. The clincher, though, is having an expert to guide you along if you're less familiar with the medium.
"It'll be a place where you could get help with turntables, be it an inexpensive or expensive one, from someone who really knows about it," Grover said.
As far as Grover is concerned, in spite of the fact that music streaming services offer considerable convenience, the tactile satisfaction of a record and the deliberate purchasing of an album causes people to actively engage in the music they love.
"You can stream music and you can use Spotify and Pandora, but it becomes kind of background to your life, like a soundtrack," he insists. "But when you pull a record out, this is saying something about you. This is saying, 'I really love this band, I really love this music, and I want to share this.'"
With this in mind, Grover wanted to make sure that Oak Cliff had a place for vinyl enthusiasts to call home. The layout of the store will emphasize the physical interaction with music and its communal function, with listening stations and areas designed to encourage socializing.
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Grover also consciously decided to avoid the potential "snob" factor of record stores, welcoming all tastes and providing a "judgement-free zone."
"Hey, if you really want Lady Gaga vinyl, and we can order it for you, great. Because you're into it, and we love that you're into music," he said.
The store will be on the same block as Davis Street Coffee and the Kessler Theater. Grover hopes it will make Spinster a place for people to wander into and discover vinyl, or to become reacquainted with it.
For their grand opening day, Grover said Spinster is planning something big, but didn't want to divulge the details quite yet. Stay tuned, vinyl junkies.