By Tara Bennett
Baton Rouge’s two-year-old Lagniappe Records, one of three record stores in town, will soon close its Baton Rouge doors. The record store announced last Tuesday via Facebook it will be moving its Beauregard Town location to downtown Lafayette.
Lagniappe Records co-owner Tess Brunet said the store – which specializes in vintage vinyl records — will be relocating to the new space in early August with a grand opening on August 7. According to Brunet, the decision was not an easy one to make after they were unable to negotiate the new terms of their lease, which started on July 1.
“We were proposed with new terms that were very different from our old terms,” said Brunet, who opened the store in July 2013 with co-owner Patrick Hodgkins. “We just didn’t accept those new terms. We didn’t feel like those terms were right for us.”
When Brunet and Hodgkins first started Lagniappe Records two years ago, initially it was a toss up to decide if their store would be located in Baton Rouge or Lafayette. Both locations had support systems with friends and family, but Lagniappe Records ended up leaning more towards Baton Rouge. Lagniappe’s current building was built in 1949 and has been home to a variety of businesses in its time, including Triangle Grocery, a local grocery store that thrived in the ‘50s and ’60s. The building was also home to a beauty salon, Salon Dolce’, for nine years before Lagniappe Records took over.
Brunet and Hodgkins looked for places in Baton Rouge to relocate, but also broadened their search to include Lafayette. The shop will be moving into a 1,000 square-foot commercial space located at 313 Jefferson Street. Possessing the same amount of space, the new location will be Lafayette’s newest downtown feature, sandwiched between a skateboard shop and yoga studio, with a screen-printing shop across the street. According to Brunet, it was the best choice for Lagniappe Records’ future where the store’s record label and live in-store concerts will continue.
“It was the one that spoke to us the most out of all of them,” said Brunet. “It just made the most sense. We’re really, really excited about it, but we’re sad to leave the community here and all we cultivated here.”
Brunet is not alone with those feelings as fans feel as if a piece of their community is leaving.
“I don’t even own a record player, yet I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited Lagniappe to see remarkable performers from all over the map, partake in an alternative international beer fest, screen an eclectic documentary, play Mario Kart on a giant projected screen, show off how cool Baton Rouge is to visiting guests, and the list goes on,” said Ian Frazier. “Tess and Patrick transformed their house into a home where culture could flourish. We are losing much more than a record store; Baton Rouge is losing a genuine community hub.”
But Lagniappe Records’ love of community is sure to continue.
“It’s an obvious big loss for Baton Rouge,” said Dana Labat, owner of Capital City Records. “I think they’re going to do really well in Lafayette though. Tess and Patrick are so community oriented. No doubt, Lafayette will welcome them with open arms. They’ve always been so kind to us, so we’re going to miss having them right down the street. Best of luck to them.”
While the store will be gone, Lagniappe will still have a presence in town whether it be local pop-up music events, dance nights, or concerts performed by Brunet and Hodgkins and their respective bands.
“We’ll still be back,” said Brunet. “We definitely want to have a presence here and work with the bands we have on the label now. We’ll be working with them just as much. We love this town; we’re very appreciative of the love and support we’ve received from here. We’re really going to miss it, but I know we’ll see everybody again…We’re confident we’ll still maintain those relationships.”
For now business will continue as usual. Lagniappe Records’ last day of business is Sunday, July 26.
“We thank everyone for their support and helping make us come to where we are,” said Brunet. “We’ll see you in Lafayette.”