Rough Trade to close Williamsburg store and move to new NYC location

A look inside Rough Trade’s N. Ninth Street home.
Photo by Susan De Vries

Heaven knows I’m miserable now…

The London-based record store chain Rough Trade is moving out of its Williamsburg warehouse this spring in search of a new home in the Five Boroughs after more than seven years on N. Ninth Street, the company’s co-owner announced Tuesday.

“Our much-loved Williamsburg store has done us proud in helping establish Rough Trade as a New York-worthy music retail and gig destination, serving the city’s music lovers and the wider music artist community with expertise, creativity and passion,” said Stephen Godfroy in a release on Jan. 19.

The store and gig venue between Wythe and Kent avenues opened in 2013 as the first US outpost of the English company, hawking wax to audiophiles and hosting hundreds of artists over the years, including Green Day, Gorillaz, Leon Bridges, The Raconteurs, Tegan and Sara, TV On The Radio, and Wilco.

As with many businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted Rough Trade’s operations and shifted sales online, and Godfroy said that, even though virtual vinyl sales are “booming,” the company will have to leave its 10,000 square-foot building in North Brooklyn to focus more on its web store.

“As with so many other retail sectors, sales are diverting online, along with the power and reach of online communities, all of which gives us inspiration to become more and not less accessible, to creatively reassess the junction between online and offline interaction,” the vinyl monger said. “Regretfully, in order for us to freely respond to these new opportunities, we shall have to bid a heartfelt and fond farewell to our beloved, inaugural US, Williamsburg premises.”

All current and future scheduled gigs at the 250-capacity concert venue have been cancelled and the company said it will refund all ticket sales. The live-music portion of the store will not make the transition to the new location.

When reached for further comment via phone, a Rough Trade store employee couldn’t say by what date the store will close its doors. 

The company opened its first vinyl outlet in London in 2007 and its sister indie label Rough Trade Records dates back to 1978, putting out albums by the Smiths, the Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, and in a second incarnation, the Strokes, Sufjan Stevens and other big names.

Rough Trade has launched an online survey called “New York Loves Music,” asking New Yorkers to share their memories, wishes, thoughts and feedback regarding music and music services in the city, the findings of which the firm will publish online later this year along with more details on its relocation plan.

“Rest assured, Rough Trade will retain its presence in New York — we look forward to sharing details of our exciting new plans in coming months,” Godfroy said.

Update: This story has been updated to include that the music venue portion of Rough Trade will not be making the move to a new location with the record store.