Andrey Douthard and Anna Atanassova were co-workers at the now-closed West Village restaurant Craft Work in 2014 when Douthard proposed a crazy idea: opening a record store in the house at the end of the block.
That October, armed with a credit card and a grant from MGM Grand Detroit Casino, the pair opened Paramita Sound with partner Zach Poley at 1417 Van Dyke St. At the time, both Douthard and Atanassova had deep ties to the local music scene but no experience running a record store.
The tiny storefront caught on quickly as both a hangout and a signpost of Detroit’s deep vinyl culture. In January 2015, the crew launched the Beat Profile, a monthly showcase for hip-hop producers. It was the only such event at the time besides Head Nod Suite at Division Gallery, despite the Motor City’s rich beat-making legacy.
A typical Beat Profile featured established local DJs, such as Dez Andres or Kyle Hall, supported by up-and-comers, with fans spilling out onto the sidewalk.
“The party took off almost immediately. It was the last Friday of the month, free, and all ages, so it felt like a house party,” Atanassova says. “It didn’t matter what part of the music scene you were from.”
After three years, the store outgrew its premises, and the raucous parties drew the ire of the neighborhood’s newer residents, who called the cops. The team shuttered the West Village store in January 2018, and Douthard, 33, navigated the wilderness without a space while Atanassova, 26, worked as beverage director for local restaurants such as Flowers of Vietnam.
Paramita Sound popped up at Détroit Is the New Black in Midtown before a new opportunity came from the owners of The Siren Hotel at 1515 Broadway St.: the chance to monetize the many hours friends, fans, and local journalists spent haunting the record store.
“The original concept was to have a bar and a record shop together. At the time, we had no concept of what that would look like,” Douthard says. “We also understood that selling new records, especially a small, curated selection of records, doesn’t really make money.”
The new Paramita Sound opened downtown last Labor Day weekend. Guests can now order from a tasteful selection of adult beverages, but music remains the main draw, with over 1,200 records and regular appearances from local artists such as Danny Brown and Shigeto.
Douthard says half the store’s inventory is currently dedicated to dance music, mostly techno and house, which means it will be a hub of the Movement Electronic Music Festival downtown on Memorial Day weekend.
Why vinyl records?
“Tangible things create deeper relationships,” Douthard says. “Records have continued to prove that point with their resiliency through decades.”