WOODLAWN — When Solange released her 2016 album, “A Seat at the Table,” then-Hyde Park resident Grant Crusor looked through local South Side record shops to find the work on vinyl.
But after he couldn’t find a copy until traveling to Wicker Park, he decided to start his own store to fill the gap on the South Side.
Crusor’s business, South Rhodes Records, will be featured at the first pop-up shop hosted by Build Coffee, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The event takes place on the coffee shop’s patio during Experimental Station’s weekly 61st Street Farmers Market.
Partnering with Build Coffee for the event is an opportunity “test out the model” he has planned for South Rhodes Records, Crusor said. Though his vinyl records shop currently operates online, Crusor said he wants the business to become both a physical store and coffee shop in Woodlawn — similar to Purple Llama in Wicker Park, with a distinction in his offerings.
“You think of a record store, you think of big crates, bins and dust and I don’t do any of that at all. I sell primarily new music, which is something that people don’t expect,” he said.
The weekend pop-up will feature a range of records, but Crusor said he also plans to play selections of the music he sells so residents can “get a feel of (its) ethos and spirit.”
Build Coffee co-founders Bea Malsky and Hannah Nyhart said they’d been in talks with Crusor for months, but began to solidify plans for an event together more recently.
While the coffee shop regularly hosts literary events and journalism workshops, Malsky said “music at Build is something we’re just starting to explore” and called the South Rhodes Records partnership a “natural collaboration.”
“Grant is exactly what we’re looking for in a pop-up shop: locally invested, welcomingly hip and aware of Woodlawn’s current and historical cultural richness,” Malsky said.
In naming his business, Crusor said he wanted it to have a connection to an “influential figure, and particularly a black person” who was connected to the area. After coming across famed writer Lorraine Hansberry — who lived at 6140 S. Rhodes Ave. — the Woodlawn resident said he knew she was that person.
And his plans to take the business to a physical location in Woodlawn are also rooted in the neighborhood’s history of discriminatory “redlining” and what residents were able to “achieve despite those barriers.”
As what Crusor called “greenlining” — people who were “pushed in certain communities because of redlining, now getting pushed out of those communities because they don’t have the money to stay” — progresses, protecting that history is a deeper goal of the business.
“I fear that is getting ready to be whitewashed or wiped out completely in terms of people’s consciousness because of who’s moving here,” Crusor said. “I want to make sure through this record store and having it be in Woodlawn I can do my part to preserve some of that story, some of that history.”