1417 Van Dyke sat vacant for years in Detroit’s West Village. Now, thanks to Andrey Douthard, it’s filled with music.
Douthard, a Detroit native, left the city after high school to study music business in Florida. The next logical step would have been to head for Los Angeles or New York, but Douthard went home instead.
“I wanted to bring what I’d learned back to my city, the city I grew up in, the city I love.”
In October, Douthard opened Paramita Sound, a vinyl shop specializing in new releases and local music. He got access to the storefront through the Activate: 1417 Van Dyke contest, a collaboration between local organizations to fill vacancies and revitalize the neighborhood.
So far, the response has been overwhelming. “We don’t even have a sign yet. It’s all just word of mouth, and we’ve had a huge turnout.”
I wanted to bring what I’d learned back to my city, the city I grew up in, the city I love.Andrey Douthard
Douthard’s goal is to create more than just a shop—he wanted to create a gathering space for people, with music as the foundation. It seems to be working. “The best part of our day is when Smitty walks in,” says Douthard. Smitty is a neighborhood legend, a Detroit old-timer who used to play the local soul group Nightchill. “He’s an encyclopedia of Detroit music, and he shares these incredible stories with us.”
Some might shake their head at opening a record store when digital downloads rule the day, but Douthard has no doubts. “They say things sound better on vinyl, but there’s more to it than that. Vinyl is an engaging format. It’s a ritualistic experience, putting a record on a turntable.”
Douthard is sharing that experience with everyone who stops by the Van Dyke shop. He has plans in the works to release records of his own through an in-house record label. The label will focus on local artists and bands — he wants to help keep the talent in Detroit.
There’s a lot to be done before pressing that first seven-inch, though. First up: getting a sign.
Andrey Douthard shares his favorite local acts of the moment:
1417 Van Dyke
Detroit, MI 48214