The infamous Brooklyn record shop will shutter after one final party on January 26th.
In a note sent out to their email list today, shop proprietors Francis Englehardt and Paul Nickerson cited a rent hike as the sole reason for their decision to close. "No, the mean police are not shutting us down, nor did the forces of our shop's demise originate anywhere within the dance music community (or its financial pitfalls)," they write. "The truth is there are forces much bigger than our little universe: our rent has been raised threefold, and sadly our imaginary trustifarian benefactors just can't swing it anymore." They also mention that, although Dope Jams will no longer have a physical location, they will keep their website up.
Englehardt and Nickerson, two longtime friends from Massachusetts, opened Dope Jams in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn in 2006 after years of throwing parties and working at record stores in Boston. The concept behind Dope Jams, as Englehardt told RA last year, "was really simple. We're gonna fill the store up with the dopest music we can find. And we're gonna put it in other people's hands. And we'll do whatever we have to do to keep it going for as long as we can." Filled with occult bric-a-brac, handmade wood shelving, an enviable (and surprisingly wide-ranging) collection of music and an oversized soundsystem, the shop embodied the owners' convictions about what "good dance music" is and how it should be presented. Despite its relatively small storefront, Dope Jams made a name for themselves in the wider dance music community over the last seven years, due in large part to their willingness to call out those whose music they felt wasn't up to snuff. (Their recent dust-up with DJ Jus-Ed exemplifies their knack for ruffling people's feathers.)
In addition to serving as a record shop, their storefront was also the site of LIFE, Englehardt and Nickerson's long-running monthly party, as well as their famed Halloween party each October. A closing party—"one last final in-store hurrah for the ages"—has been scheduled for January 26th.