As you might guess Hybrid Moments in Ferndale has a little bit of everything. Part record store, part consignment shop and part live music venue to boot … it might seem puzzling until you realize the whole thing is an umbrella to support Detroit’s community of artists, musicians and crafters.
“We’re pretty much open to be a local space … enough so anyone can utilize us,” owner Johnny Weeks says. The shop hosts live music every weekend. CD release parties and art openings come around, too.
The whole point was to get as many local artists involved as possible. “We wanted to grow through the community instead of a top down corporate structure,” says Weeks. Knowing it’s hard for an artist to get his or her stuff out there, he felt compelled to make a space for that to happen. The shop is totally community-based and sustained and has a wonderfully eclectic mix of records, CDs, vintage clothing, posters, art and more.
“The funny thing is I never thought about the consignment idea until I moved to Detroit,” admits Weeks, who came back here after living in California for seven years. “But so many people around here are so involved in the handmade movement and screen printing and everything.”
On top of being blown away by the handmade movement and music scene around Detroit, part of what inspired the opening of Hybrid Moments was … surprisingly … Michigan’s economic climate. “I was super motivated to start this back in Michigan because the economy gives us small guys a chance,” Weeks explains. “Ten years ago, this place was four times the rent I pay now … The economy gives you opportunities.”
He has some advice for other young people looking to open businesses. “Do it and don’t think twice,” he says. “There needs to be a lot more businesses owned by younger people. It’s important in growing our communities. I see businesses throwing money to the city, but that’s not enough. Most youthful business owners are going toward it now knowing that in order to grow you need to give back and involve people.”
“Learn as you go along. Go and find out how much it might cost to rent a place per month. You never know,” he says. “If anything, I’d be stoked on the idea of this spawning copy cats. Anyone can do it. You just have to do it.”
He and his vendors are certainly stoked about Hybrid Moments. There has been a core group of vendors making up the shop’s contents since the beginning. Those behind Millie Bea’s, who call themselves “second-hand radicals,” sell vintage clothing, accessories, natural body products, and handmade jewelry. Wolf Pack Clothing, and Badnews Boards added skateboards and skate wear to the mix.
Weeks met a lot of his current vendors when they walked in the shop. Shawn Knight, a screen printing artist, was one such peddler. His psychedelic posters line the south wall of the shop. “The big reason we’re such a supporter of him is because he’s a local Ferndale resident and he’s made such a big name for himself,” Weeks says. Alongside posters for local bands, like Child Bite and Zoos of Berlin, he’s gone on to design for national acts like the Black Keys and Girl Talk.
There’s been no problem in finding the wealth of trappings that now make up Hybrid Moments. Alongside the veterans, Weeks also keeps a rotating door open for other artists, crafters, and musicians to sell their work.
“That was the coolest thing. As soon as we opened the doors we were getting more and more consignment stuff in. We actually had to expand the store to make room for everything,” Weeks says as he motions to a garage door that used to separate the back half of the store. It’s filled with fabulous 70s menswear, used books and pretty vintage dresses.
You can find work from local visual artists ranging from paintings to screen prints to mixed media. The shop supports crafters, too. You’ll find hand-knit hats, journals and pins from vendors such as Comfortably Lovely. “Basically anything in the constraints of handmade and local,” Weeks says.
Hybrid also carries new and used records. “It’s an eclectic mix of everything but definitely all underground music. Nothing corporate labeled. We’re heavier on rock stuff, but we do include everything and we mix the local stuff in … Why segregate the locals?” he asks. “It’s weird.”
If all goes well, Weeks has some super fun plans for the future. “I’d love to get a vending machine and have it full of local foods,” he says “and I’d love to put on a Hybrid Moments festival to really showcase the community involved.”
If you want to see a show, stop by Friday or Saturday nights from 9:00 pm to midnight. Cover rates are between $3 and $5.
“We support the Detroit music scene, which makes our stuff garage, punk, and indie,” Weeks says. “But we definitely include everything. We’ve had folk and hip hop shows here, too.”