Vinyl enthusiasts, get excited. Prominent indie/punk/garage label Almost Ready Records now boasts its own brick and mortar shop under the same name. Tucked into an unassuming corner on Huntington Street in Carroll Gardens, co-owners Harry Howes and Katherine Ohlweiler opened their sunlit doors to the public this past Sunday. Welcoming customers with smiles from ear to ear and complimentary Bloody Marys, Howes says the transition from label to shop was a long time coming.
“I’ve always been a record collector above all,” he said, while a steady stream of wax devotees entered. After operating predominantly out of his home and storage spaces, Howes quickly realized being in the public with his records was a natural progression. As the label readies its decade birthday celebration, Howes is confident the store can attain the same longevity under one seemingly obvious stipulation: a great selection. “A lot of places you go into…you’ll go in there and look at every record in the store and not buy anything because the selection is pretty bad. We aim to stay in business by having a solid rotating stock. That’s the key to a record store staying around.” With over 5,000 titles available ranging from psych to folk to reggae and more, this doesn’t seem to be a challenge for the pair. Howes is particularly excited about their punk and 90s hip-hop curation. Cassette revivalists—they’ve got you covered, too.
Opting for Carroll Gardens after striking out in Bushwick and Greenpoint, Howes was relieved to find a location so close to home and landlords open to a longer lease. Being a stone’s throw from the BQE has proved to be an added bonus. A perfectly placed ad on a neighboring wall has brought them some early business. “You get a quarter of a million people driving past every day. We’re getting calls all the time already. Half of the records in here are at least from that sign,” he told us.
Free of the stale, oftentimes pretentious aura surrounding indie record stores, Ohlweiler and Howes are far more interested in fostering community. Hand-painted signage, natural lighting and a simple, easy-to-navigate layout make for a surprisingly inviting experience. “We try to be very friendly…whatever people are buying, that’s their business…a lot of shops barely even look up at you,” Howes added. This comes across tenfold as they continue to pour drinks and speak with each and every customer, simultaneously continuing to stock, price, and organize. The best part, Howes admits, is meeting new people and making connections buying and selling records. Joining Black Gold Records on Court street, Carroll Gardens just became a welcome addition to the vinyl circuit in Brooklyn.
On April 29th-30th, Almost Ready will host a two-day party to celebrate their 10th anniversary. The first will be hosted at Shea Stadium, the second at Union Pool. Almost Ready Records is located at 135 Huntington Street (between Clinton and Court streets), open Tues-Sun 11-8PM.