Since the turn of the millennium, there’s been no shortage of digital music platforms and streaming apps to make our favorite songs easier and more convenient to enjoy. At the same time, there’s been a resurgence in the retro technology of vinyl records and artistic album covers, that the once dwindling medium is here to stay.
There’s one man who’s banking on the vinyl revival and sees the potential for creating a small mecca for music aficionados in Brookfield — Dylan Kloska.
The Chicago native, who has a background as both a musician and a record shop employee, says that after a year of successful pop-up shops selling both albums and small houseplants — another apparent mainstay of millennial culture — he was ready to take the plunge and turn his business, Vines & Vinyl, into a brick-and-mortar enterprise at 3730 Prairie Ave.
As was the case for so many people, the COVID pandemic turned Kloska’s world upside down. And, after being laid off from his bartending job due to bar and restaurant shutdowns, Kloska spent time in his Humboldt Park apartment doing two of his favorite things, playing records and propagating plants.
Then months later, as businesses began reopening, an idea hit him: Why not try to make a few bucks off of doing something he loves?
“It was kind of just a lightbulb moment that when all this COVID stuff settles down, I don’t know if I want to go back into the service industry,” he said. “It was a hit, especially with the millennial crowd, and the feedback was great.”
With a 6-foot folding table, a few crates of records and some small plants in tow, Kloska began networking with places like the ones he used to work at — hip, high-vibe bars, restaurants and breweries in Chicago and the suburbs, setting up shop and hosting a pop-up.
After traveling around the area for over a year, Kloska said he wanted to turn the traveling shop into a traditional storefront business.
Kloska’s brother and sister-in-law live in Brookfield, and he figured that with its small-town vibe and mom-and-pop businesses, downtown Brookfield might be a great fit. Because there isn’t another record store in Brookfield or in the immediate area, Kloska thinks Vines & Vinyl will help fill a needed void.
“You can tell that Brookfield is closer to the city and has more of an urban vibe than some of the further away suburbs,” he said. “I am excited that over the last month or so when I’ve been painting the shop and had my door open, from the amount of people that I see walk by, there’s a lot of people that seem to be late ’20s, early ’30s — it seems like the right neighborhood.”
Kloska says people can expect a little bit of everything at Vines & Vinyl, from remastered classics from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s to releases from newer artists in genres including rap, pop and alternative rock. Kloska says he also hopes to introduce patrons to newer artists, especially those from the Chicago area and Midwest.
“I want to have a little bit of something for everybody,” he said. “For the most part, I’m not going to have the largest selection in the world, but I want to stake my claim as a well-curated record store.”
Kloska says selling his self-propagated, low-maintenance plants and succulents in repurposed pots and planters alongside records is “kind of like my living situation manifested itself into a retail store.”
With small plants in the front room of the business and albums in the middle room, Kloska says he wants Vines & Vinyl to have a fun, vibrant aesthetic.
“I want everyone to come in and see that there’s something they can find or that I can provide for them,” he added.
With the grand opening set for Saturday, Sept. 24, Kloska is eager to become a part of not just Brookfield’s business community, but a neighborhood staple.
“I like the sense of community in Brookfield, and I’ve already joined the Chamber of Commerce, and they seem supportive and pro-mom-and-pop shop,” he said.
Kloska also hopes to host open mic nights featuring the music of local musicians and host consignment-style art shows to support local artists.
Vines & Vinyl’s hours of operation will be Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information, visit Facebook.com/vinesandvinyl or search vinesandvinylchicago on Instagram.