Have you ever fantasized about opening your dream shop? Douglas Holland, the owner of Jerk Dog Records, has managed to do just that—all from the comfort of his house.
It’s been nearly two decades since Holland and his wife, artist Valeri Rose, first learned their neighborhood, was uniquely zoned for both residential and commercial use. Along with fellow homeowners, they’ve transformed the area into Bradenton’s Village of the Arts, a vibrant live-work community featuring a variety of shops, eateries, studios, and gallery spaces.
For many years, the pair's home double das an art studio, but in 2014 Holland realized he had a rare opportunity to open a small, curated record shop to run on the side. “Music can feel important and transformative," he explains. "It’s more than just something to listen to.” Opening a store presented a chance to create a space to discover new music and connect with other fans. After renovating the porch into a cozy, one-room shop, Jerk Dog Records was born.
With its boxes of records, poster-clad walls and ceiling lined with punk-rock fliers from the '90s, the cozy, eclectic space feels like a mini-musical archive. Though Holland has a soft spot for the punk genre, browsers can find everything from jazz, blues, hip-hop, metal and country in the bins. In addition to new and used vinyl, there’s also an assortment of books and ephemera to explore. Rose’s artwork is on display, along with merchandise for the Bradentucky Bombers, a roller derby team she founded.
So, what is it about records?
Holland explains that in an era of fast entertainment, putting on an album offers the equivalent of an audio vacation. “Listening to a record is about taking a moment, or what I’ve heard some people call ‘mindfulness,’" he says. "It’s a whole listening experience. There’s no ability to skip or shuffle around. You have to really slow down.” Plus, he adds, a record invites you to take time to appreciate the album’s expanded format, including artwork, liner notes and lyrics.
Visitors to Jerk Dog run the gamut. Seasoned vinyl collectors stop by to see what’s new or look for a trade. Curious tourists exploring Village of the Arts pop in for nostalgia. Just as often, Holland sees young folks coming in to discover the classics and older generations stopping by to see what’s new. The resurgence of vinyl popularity has helped create a cross-generational connection. Once a grandparent happily helped their teenage grandson select an AC/DC album.
One perk of running a business from home is the short commute. Holland says that on slow days he’s able to start dinner while keeping an eye out for customers who might pop in. Visitors are sometimes surprised to discover it’s “very much a functional house,” Holland says. One might hear the washing machine running; Holland says he's also been distracted by music talk and accidentally burned the dinner he left on the stove.
Of course, running a shop from your home during a pandemic presents a certain added risk. The safety of both his family and his customers is a top priority. After initially closing its doors, Jerk Dog is now open to a limited number of guests at a time, though Holland is looking forward to the days when he’s able to host rock concerts from his garage again.
Jerk Dog Records is open Wednesday-Friday from 5-8 p.m., Saturday 12:30-5 p.m., and Sunday from 12-4 p.m.. It is located at 119 12th St. W., Bradenton.