Spend Locally: Flat, Black & Circular

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Christopher A. Wardell for ELi

Flat Black and Circular offers something for everyone.

For the lover of music in your life, the record store Flat, Black & Circular has got you covered this holiday season – with both masks and all types of music genres. Founded by Dick Rosemont and Dave Bernath in East Lansing in 1977, the store is located on the second floor of the Campus Town Mall at 541 East Grand River.

Flat, Black, and Circular, or “FBC” as it’s more affectionately called, specializes in new and used records, CDs, DVDs, vintage stereo equipment, as well as books and magazines pertaining to music.

FBC shut its doors this spring as a non-essential business before reopening its doors on Jun. 8. But manager Jon Howard, who’s been an employee at FBC since 1994, has kept busy with both the buying and selling of music from both loyal customers and those who are new to the store.

“We got to clean out a few giant estates during the plague, and ended up with hundreds of free albums,” Howard said. “Rap vinyl has exploded in a big way, and classical vinyl as well.”

FBC was particularly busy during the most recent international Black Friday Record Store Day with a socially distant line of roughly ten to fifteen people waiting to pick up special releases by Jerry Garcia, Rolling Stones, Aimee Mann, and Ice-T.   

Customers were let in one at a time, with no more than eight in the store at one time.

Howard is happy to accommodate a safe experience, including the curation of records based on the tastes of the customer. 

“If you have a list an email would be the best, and we can do the sale by phone once we have a total,” Howard said. “We have two accounts on Instagram and Facebook to find us on. We can mail things out or have them paid and ready for a pickup. In-store has been chill with everyone 100% masked up.”   

As a record collector himself, Howard finds his work to be a true labor of love, and he loves to see the diversity in the music his customers purchase.

“We have gotten pretty good at making suggestions based on what you like already,” Howard said. “We have records from all over the world, and from all eras. Everything from new age piano to death metal.”

Howard went on to add, “We aren’t just selling nuts and bolts. It’s always great when customers buy totally divergent records. Recently I sold the Barenaked Ladies together with some grindcore. Love that.”

You can reach FBC by phone at (517) 351-0838 or online on Facebook and Instagram.

Make sure ELi can continue to support the local community in 2021.

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