Dearborn Music on Monday confirmed rumors that had been swirling around downtown Farmington for weeks: the opening of a second shop in The Groves retail center.
The company will take over part of a large space vacated by Dress Barn in 2019. Rick LeAnnais, who co-owns the store with his brother Kevin, expects a soft opening in July and grand opening in September.
An entertainment store
Celebrating its 65th anniversary, Dearborn Music has evolved with the music scene, from vinyl LPs to compact discs and back. LeAnnais said the emergence of digital music had a devastating effect on record stores across the country; between 2003 and 2008, some 3500 independent record stores closed.
Heavily into CDs, the brothers started bringing in more t-shirts, posters, and accessories. Dearborn Music also now hosts (or did before the COVID-19 pandemic) acoustic concerts with artist signings.
“Basically, we’re an entertainment store,” LeAnnais said. “Until last year, CDs were out-selling LPs. Now, LPs are outselling CDs. So we’re always changing the layout of the store to accommodate the market.”
‘The downtown experience’
The brothers looked in three different areas before settling on The Groves, LeAnnais said.
“We ended up liking what Farmington has to offer with the downtown experience, the downtown atmosphere,” he added.
Farmington Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Executive Director Kate Knight said Dearborn Music is not alone.
“The experiential retail market is strong, and we’re seeing a renewed interest in locating within a walkable downtown,” she said. “Dearborn Music fits our ideal retail profile, in that it opens on the first day to hordes of loyal fans, and draws from a wide geographic circle. It’s what we think of as a ‘third place’, which is that special space outside your workplace or home, where you spend time with your community.”
Knight expects the music shop to boost other downtown businesses.
“It will be a different offering each trip into town, and we know that customer will stop to pick up some cheese, or a skateboard, or a dress, or a cocktail, while they enjoy downtown,” she said.