After five months in a temporary smaller space across the street, Groove Merchant Records spent the first days of the new year moving back into its home at 687 Haight St. (at Pierce), now open.
In accordance with building codes, the store underwent a major seismic retrofit. "They had to gut the floors down to put these braces in," said owner Chris Veltri, gesturing at a wall.
According to Veltri, the store's temporary move to 214 Pierce St. coincided with a ramp-up in work on area infrastructure improvements that tore up the roadway. As a result, parking was disrupted, regular customers avoided the area, and out-of-town shoppers were left confused.
"That pretty much killed business," he said.
Moving off Haight Street also reduced foot traffic, and the new space was covered in scaffolding. "It was hard, I nearly bankrupted," Veltri explained.
He expects business to slowly return to normal and is in the process of redecorating the space. Veltri said he's also considering other new projects in the store and plans to offer more photo books like last year's Record People.
Veltri said a friend plans to rent the space next door, formerly home to plant store Cove. "We are going to have an art gallery there," Veltri said. "It will be tied into the shop here," although the two spaces won't be physically connected.
When the gallery space is active, the pair plan to use the space for monthly and weekly events, as well as sales. The gallery will have a strong focus on photography paired with a music theme.
The new space will be called Family Affair after the soul classic by Sly and the Family Stone, Veltri added, noting that it jibes with the fact that record label Luv N' Haight, which once operated out of the same location, is also named after one of the band's songs.
The new arts and events space will be ready to open in "another month or so," said Veltri.
Groove Merchant Records is open every day from 12pm to 7pm.
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