By Erich Wagner (Photo/Erich Wagner)
When Crooked Beat Records owner Bill Daly announced in April that the landmark record store would close its location in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, vinyl collectors and audiophiles across the region mourned the loss of yet another independent music shop, albeit a temporary one.
Just three months after the store closed in May, Daly was happy to announce the shop, which specializes in new and used vinyl records, will reopen at its new location at 802 N. Fairfax St. next week.
“We’re real close,” he said. “I was looking at it just a couple minutes ago, and if I can get [contractors] to come in and just finish the last three to four hours worth of stuff, we’ll be ready to go.”
It has been a rough year for Daly and his store, which is a destination for music lovers, particularly those in the local punk and indie scenes. He decided not to renew his lease in Adams Morgan after his building be- came infested with rodents.
“We started to notice major problems with the building — rodents by the dozens and then the hundreds,” Daly said. “The landlord was fixing stuff, but it was all Band-Aid stuff. … On the day of the blizzard [last winter], we found like five holes in the floor and it just got worse over the winter.
“Long story short, the exterminator found rat holes 28 feet deep. In March, he pulled down some of the recessed lighting and saw tons of them, big ones — grandfather rats as they call them — up there.”
The last straw came when the infestation started to affect Daly’s health.
“I had to go to the doctor five times between January and May,” he said. “I don’t care how busy the store is. When doctors were saying, ‘You’ll have to move or you’ll face life-threatening problems within a year,’ that was it.”
Daly said he had mixed feelings about not setting up shop again in the District.
“I did always want a second store in Virginia,” he said. “I started by looking around in Adams Morgan, but the commercial rents were now double what I had been paying. So I decided, I’ll open here [in Alexandria] and then find a smaller second location in D.C.”
Daly assured patrons that the new Crooked Beat would be the same as the old location, right down to the bright red walls. But the new storefront on North Fairfax Street will allow him to stock up to 1,500 more records at a time.
“Our stuff goes all across the board, all genres,” he said. “We’ve always been big for the punk and indie rock crowd, as well as people looking for older used records like classic rock and soul stuff. And we’ve always had a following that’s into reggae.”
Bill Reagan, executive director of the Alexandria Small Business Development Center, said destination stores like Crooked Beat are exactly what Alexandria needs to fulfill its billing as a retail district that appeals to visitors and locals alike.
“If you’re a destination like that, you don’t have to be right on King Street,” Reagan said. “You can be on a side street and people will find you. It’s all about having a place where people will enjoy going and having a staff that’s really knowledge- able and can explain to people who come in things that most people could not.”
Daly said he will announce the store’s official opening when the shop is ready on Facebook at www.facebook.com/crookedbeatrecords and Twitter at www.twitter.com/crookedbeatdc.