This weeks highlight features two incredible humans: old souls with amazing taste for all things retro and cool. We interviewed Jessica and Jordan, owners of Electric Kitsch for this weeks local highlight. Let's find out what more about this business and how you can shop with them.
Let's meet the faces of Electric Kitsch
Jordan Pries is a musician and stringed instrument technician, by way of Milwaukee and Detroit. He found himself in the Mt. Pleasant area to attend CMU. He worked for B's Music for 8 years before beginning Electric Kitsch with me, Jessica McQuarter. I retired from commercial printing after 15 years, I attend Delta College, studying everything for 12. :) We were matched on eHarmony in 2009 over our love of Neil Young and Regina Spektor, and hatred for the Dave Matthews Band. We opened Electric Kitsch in June of 2012. We just adopted our 3rd cat together.
Why did they open Electric Kitsch?
We both are the kind of people that always wanted to do our own thing. Having your own business is, "the dream". We both love music and emailed and talked about music excessively when we met. I pushed Jordan to branch out, take the risk and use his talent with instruments to start Electric Kitsch. I would continue working my corporate job until it was secure enough to quit. That took about 3 years.
Where are they based out of?
Bay City! We do have partnerships with Jordan's greatest friend Mitch, who resides in Muskegon. They worked together at B's Music and did an all vinyl radio show at CMU called, "Black Circle Radio". Mitch took the show to Muskegon, where he grew it like a weed, and we continue to sponsor it and collab on that and other music projects.
Big moves and plans for Electric Kitsch
Yes, well, we just moved into a historic building which we own. It's about 3 times the size of the retail space we spent over 8 years in. We're able to reside here and have the space to continue with stringed instrument repair, as well as build an area for recording music. It's still in the works.
Inspiration for the products they choose for the shop
About half of what we sell is used or vintage items. I choose the vintage clothing and kitsch based on my taste and affordability. Vintage clothing can get very pricey online, especially band shirts or certain tags. If I can acquire it at a low price, I like to pass it on at a low price.
Records are our main business, we sell both used and new pressings of the classics or new music. We try our best to know our customer base. We've built relationships with regular customers and try to follow the trends of hot artists. It's difficult sometimes, to not please everyone all the time. It's something I struggle with. I want everyone to be happy shopping here and squeal when they pick up a record, "I can't believe you have this!".
We love stocking world music and jazz. Both are not the most popular sellers for Bay City, but it's worth it when someone takes a chance and discovers something new to them. We also like to stock physical media by local artists. We do not take a commission for offering that service to them.
What Electric Kitsch has to offer and how you can shop their products
New and used records from the 50s to today. 45 RPM records, used cassette tapes, new & used CDs, a small amount of 8 tracks and VHS, vintage clothing from the 70s to the 90s. Guitar strings, cables, picks and accessories. We offer used turntables, amps, and speakers when we can acquire them.
We deactivated our online selling before our big move and haven't started it back up again, but normally we sell on Discogs. Shop in store, by phone or social media.(Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) We do still offer curbside and shipping.
Record Store Day has been split into two events this year, to prevent crowding. The first is June 12th, which we're also using as sort of a grand opening and 9 year anniversary. We're open 10am to 5pm. The second Record Store Day is July 17th! Hours will be the same. Prize drawings, sales, free cookies from Luna's Deli & Sweets.
What they have learned since opening their business
I guess, as I mentioned above, you can't please everyone all of the time. People will say negative things and give you backhanded compliments, it's just people - people-ing. Sometimes it ruins your day, but then amazing things happen and everyone else is nice and wonderful the rest of the day or rest of the week. I started a journal of strange happenings or weird comments. I think it helps me not take it so personally. It will be fun for someone to read at my estate sale some day.
We miss Electric Kitsch being right across the street from us in Downtown Bay City, but we're beyond excited for them and their new space in the South End! If you're looking for a new record or some awesome vintage clothing, do yourself a favor and stop into Electric Kitsch. You're guaranteed to leave with some new tunes.
Check back next week for another local business highlight!
Follow Electric Kitsch: @electrickitschbaycity
Photo credit: Marcie Cervantes, for the Humane Society of Bay County calendar and Bill Young of Michigan Record Club