DETROIT — Hosting a late night Thanksgiving reception for an invitation-only crowd of family and friends, native born rocker Jack White opened his Third Man Records store in grand style. It is the second location of Third Man Records to operate, after the downtown Nashville store opened seven years ago. The Detroit location is near the iconic Traffic Jam restaurant of Wayne State University area fame and the high end Shinola company store on W. Canfield.
With 4,000 ft. of space, the store has retail space, warehousing and offices. There are plans for a 10,000 ft. expansion with a vinyl record pressing plant. Eight machines have been purchased from Germany and are expected to be delivered in January.
Ben Swank of Third Man Records said that after opening pop-up stores in other markets, the company has been thinking about another full-time location for several years. THE WHITE STRIPES, White’s most popular group, played its first live shows at the Gold Dollar, a now closed club that is not far from the Third Man Record’s store, in the Cass Corridor. White founded Third Man in a studio he developed in Indian Village in 2001. He left Detroit for Nashville, Tennessee, where Third Man is now based.
The new enterprise caters to the audiophile. It sells turntables, guitar accessories, high end headphones, cameras and hip clothes. There is even a booth where you can do a self-recording. Large photos dominate the industrial brick décor and there is plenty of memorabilia of White’s award-winning career. Entertainers Danny Kroha and Margo Price performed at the late night party.
“It’s such a wonderful thing for Third Man Records to be here in the Cass Corridor, where so many of us made our bones and so many people from Detroit and our community did so many artistic things,” White said. Dressed in a bright yellow tie, he acknowledged and thanked his three sisters and six brothers for their support. He saluted his mother and her Polish cooking plus all the nieces and nephews of the Bundyk-Gillis families. White later reminisced about his Cass Tech High School and Clark Park days.
Store consultant Randy Cholewa said the store is perfect for the location. “It will mean some jobs for the area.” Shoppers started camping out and lining up Thursday morning for the stores grand opening Friday. Third Man Records employees brought out pizza and beverages for those that braved the elements. “I’m so happy this is happening here,” said Dean Fertita, a musician, who played with White in the RACONTEURS.
Detroit natives, Swank and Ben Blackwell, the two other principals in Third Man Records circulated the party and attended to details. Swank said, “It’s great to have this happening back at home. The way we work is pretty instinctual. We just trust the moment and go with that.”
Just as in Nashville, the venue will have a small preview auditorium for indy movie premiers, book readings and boutique performances. Blackwell said previously, “This location is going to make it easier for a little punk band to make 300 copies of a 7-inch vinyl.”