A new spin
|By Rich Tupica|
FBC owner Rosemont departs after 33 yearsTo local music lovers and musicians, Flat, Black and Circular is the holy grail of vinyl, CDs and other music artifacts.
The independent record store, nestled atop the Campus Town Mall in downtown East Lansing, has been in business for just over three decades; now, a big part of the store’s history is moving on.
Dick Rosemont, who founded the store with Dave Bernath in September 1977, is moving to Santa Fe, N.M., with his wife, leaving behind the store he has co-owned and operated since he was 27. Rosemont’s last day working at FBC will be Dec. 18.
“He’s working here every day next week, then he’s getting in his car and driving to Santa Fe,” Bernath said. “After being with a guy for 33 years it was like a long marriage. He’s got knowledge that no one else has as far as oldies, ‘60s music, Beatles trivia, Michigan 45s — there’s hardly anyone else in the world that knows as much as he does. It’s going to be a major loss of knowledge and information. He is one of a kind.”
Growing up in Birmingham, Rosemont became enamored with music and records. In 1968 he moved to East Lansing to attend Michigan State University where he studied in the Television and Radio program (now the Telecom department).
Rosemont and Bernath, both 60 years old, first met in 1975 while Rosemont was hosting a radio show called Audio Aftermath.
“I met him when he was a DJ on WKAR I called up one night and asked some trivial question,” Bernath recalled.
“It led to meeting him and going to each others’ places to see our record collections. We had mutual interests, like the same kind of music. We even traveled a lot together, we were best buddies when we started out."
Bernath and Rosemont even went to Los Angeles and New York to check out various record stores as research for their own business. "We said, ‘We can do it, and do it better,” Bernath said.
In 1975, WKAR was faced with budget issues and Rosemont was laid off. That same year, Wazoo Records opened in East Lansing. Rosemont got a job at Wazoo and began taking mental notes on how to run a successful independent shop.
“When Wazoo opened it was a perfect opportunity to hang out and see how a business could operate with standards,” Rosemont said. “There is no selling involved — all you have to do is have the stuff and maintain standards.
"In those days a used record store was a new idea to most people. Most people equated ‘used’ to ‘scratched and worn.’ We had pretty high standards. I got to see how a business could operate relatively simply and people were happy you’re there.”
Two years later Rosemont left Wazoo. He and Bernath officially opened FBC on September 26, 1977 — a few weeks after Elvis Presley died.
“I thought, I’ll just take this idea and try to improve upon it. As soon as Dave and I decided we were going to do this, I was out making my rounds buying things,” Rosemont recalled.
“We were stashing things all summer in ‘77. I lived in a house on Burcham, I filled one of the rooms with boxes of records.”
A secret of FBC’s success, according to Rosemont, is the store’s willingness to change with the times.
“Dave and I
Rosemont and his wife, Jane, a photographer, have bought a house one mile from downtown Santa Fe.
"As I used to say, I didn’t choose to stay, I just haven’t left because this is a pretty transient community.”
Rosemont, he isn’t sure whats ahead for him: Santa Fe will be a completely new beginning.