While Musique Plastique, the local record shop specializing in post-punk, electronic, and world music that has been in operation since 2015, was forced to close in the midst of the pandemic, owner Tony Remple survived the particular hit better than most by pivoting immediately to online sales. But even though he held on in order to a dedicated customer base through sites like Discogs, he was itching to get back into a physical location.
“I did see other record shops announcing, ‘This isn’t what I signed up for. I’m sorry, but we’ll see you later, ’ and moved on, ” Remple says. “I had a hard time doing that will, but I needed to be in a physical space. I needed that for my own motivation and engagement. ”
Once it became safe to do so, Remple began the hunt for the new storefront, always with a mind toward unusual spaces or venues where you might not expect to find a record store. He wound up finding a home that checked all the boxes inside a surprising locale: Lloyd Center.
Lured by very competitive rent plus low overhead, Remple reopened Musique Plastique in a former Lids outlet near the shopping mall’s famed ice rink in June. And since then, the record shop has become a beacon, inspiring other businesses to follow his lead. Floating World Comics recently announced this would be moving from its Old Town area into the particular mall, and clothing designers Dreem Street will soon be sharing a space with art gallery Brackett Creek Exhibitions.
“It’s really exciting in order to me to be part of this plus share energy together, ” Remple says, “and I think it’s going to continue to grow. I am down with regard to what Jason [Leivian, Floating World Comics’ owner] is deeming the Lloyd Middle Arts District. ”
This injection associated with fresh life into Lloyd Center feels especially unusual considering how close it came to vanishing completely.
With big anchor stores like Macy’s closing their doors over the past few years, the particular shopping mall’s owners, EB Arrow, were drowning in debt. It was expected that will KKR Real Estate Finance Trust, the New York investment firm that loaned Lloyd Center $177 million in 2015 regarding renovations, would foreclose on the mall and redevelop the entire 1. 2 million-square-foot area.
Lloyd Center got an 11th-hour reprieve via new managers, Seattle’s Urban Renaissance Group, who last December stated they intended in order to make sure “it continues to be the community gathering place. ”
URG may have gotten its wish with the arrival of Musique Plastique. While much of Lloyd Middle still feels like a lawless ghost town with kids on skateboards sailing past the many vacant storefronts, the record store has already been buzzing along with visitors plus activity.
Remple has partnered with Intro to Rhythm, an online radio station specializing in beat-heavy sounds that will does regular live broadcasts out associated with Musique Plastique, and Dreem Street co-owner Eric Mast to hold informal parties at the shop. These hangs often spill out into the rest of the mall, with patrons taking advantage of the bank of massage chairs nearby or stopping by the retro arcade that sits two doors down.
Outside associated with those bigger to-dos, Remple admits, Lloyd Center can still be very quiet. During my recent hourlong visit to Musique Plastique, the particular only visitors were a pair of teens that will briefly skimmed through the store’s small selection of CDs before hurrying off to Hot Topic.
Those slow stretches don’t seem faze Remple. He expects business will pick up once Floating Globe Comics opens its doorways, as there tends in order to be a good amount of crossover between the two businesses’ customer bases. And he’s well aware that report collectors around the hunt intended for a three-LP collection of music by Algerian raï singer Cheb Hasni (which this individual was happily spinning when I stopped by) will find Musique Plastique no matter where it is.
“How this is built is as a destination, ” Remple says. “This is not the kind of shopping mall record store that would have been around in the ’80s or ’90s. It’s a good alternate universe kind of situation, and that’s been fun. ”
SEE IT: Musique Plastique, 1405 Lloyd Center. 11 am-7 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday.