In the 21 years since Carl Hultgren first met Windy Weber while she worked at Southland Mall’s Record Town, more than twenty self-produced releases have been attributed to the ambient/space-rock duo Windy & Carl (a handful via Chicago’s experimental label Kranky). Since 1999, the married couple has maintained a home for their shared love of music as Dearborn’s Stormy Records, currently in its fourth location.
“It’s such a different world now… it’s not at all the in-store, walk-in traffic, crazy conversation, community oriented thing that it used to be, which is sad in a lot of ways,” says Weber. It’s no secret that since the dawn of the MP3 many record stores have fallen by the wayside, like Metro Detroit’s Record Time and Desirable Discs. Stormy has managed to stay afloat largely due to the resurgence in popularity of vinyl, online sales, and the personal treatment they offer their customers. “75% of the people who walk in the door, I know their name, I know their pets names, I know what records they’ve bought and what they’re interested in, and I specifically order things with them in mind.”
Not everything makes it to Stormy’s shelves. “We definitely try to focus on out-there and fringe music,” says Hultgren, “things that are more interesting, things that you can’t find in a lot of stores.” But they do promote camaraderie among local sellers, and won’t hesitate to point a customer in the direction of a competitor to help someone find what they’re looking for. “Not everybody’s willing to do that,” says Weber, “the used record business is really cutthroat.”
“You will get a very different level of customer service and personal interaction… coming here and dealing with us,” says Weber. “Carl and I are usually very honest about whether or not we like a record…. We’re a store owned by music nerds for music nerds to shop in.”
“I’m just thankful that people still do come to record stores,” says Hultgren. “It seems that now more than ever people are realizing that they are places you should still go to and still support.”
Nerd out with Windy & Carl at 13210 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn (above Green Brain Comics) or peruse their catalog at stormyrecords.com. Contact the store at 313.581.9322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.