Tess Brunet is co-owner of vintage records store Lagniappe Records along with her husband, Patrick Hodgkins. The store, which moved from its previous space on Jefferson Street to a bigger space two doors down at 311-B Jefferson St., got its start in Baton Rouge before moving to Lafayette.
We started out much smaller than it is now with our own record collections. Online music is something that we didn't consider at all. We didn't set out to do much more than create jobs for ourselves and curate a shop we could be proud of. That and I don't like answering to anyone. We were confident we could pull it off considering our collective knowledge of music. Collectively, we cast a pretty wide net. The cleaning and grading standards are set pretty high, and it's meticulously organized.
There is no typical customer. Mostly everyone has widely different tastes when it comes to what they'd buy on vinyl, and we very much consider our regulars and ourselves when we buy.
I'm from New Orleans originally, and, yes, I was in a few bands. I toured for a decade then got sick of being on the road all the time and decided to start Lagniappe with Patrick, but we talked about it for two years before we actually did it.
I met Patrick in New Orleans. I hired him as my bass player. We were bandmates for a while before we dated or anything.
Baton Rouge was awesome. We love Baton Rouge. It gets a bad rap, but it's mostly because people don't know what they're talking about, but that goes for lots of things. All places have pros and cons. The grass is always greener, I guess. We relocated here because the building we were in was raining on our product, and our lease came up for renewal and it was a terrible deal. We tried relocating to another spot in Baton Rouge but didn't find anything we liked. So we just expanded our search and found the space on Jefferson Street.
Our landlords renovated that space, and the new space is a more open floor plan. The layout is better suited for a retail business, so we decided it was worth it. It's roughly the same square footage, but the ceiling is crazy high, plus it's ornate. It's a really beautiful space.
Our store has been evolving constantly since we started it over five years ago. I like to shift things often. I'm always moving things around, adding things, taking things away. I have a compulsion to always be tweaking things and I decide where it's going to go next depending on lots of factors. I have to live in it for a while before I decide what's next. It's a process.
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