On Nov. 27, Jack White’s record store “Third Man Records” had its grand opening on Canfield St., giving the body of the Cass Corridor a beating heart. The store was filled to the brim with a line of bodies spilling outside of the door that wrapped around the corner. The weather was distasteful, but no fan seemed to mind having wet clothes if it meant they could get into the store on opening day. As security guard Anthony Bilack recalled, “People were pitching tents to get in since five in the morning yesterday.”
From the outside, Third Man is just a brick wall with tinted windows that let you have a limited peek at the wonders inside. It stands in between the Jolly Pumpkin, a local bar, and a high-end clothing store. On the curb in front of the establishment sits a truck that says, “Rolling Record Store.” It’s black and yellow and fits the aesthetic of the interior of Third Man and sells only 12” and 7” records.
Inside of Third Man there are black and yellow tiled counters that hold Third Man Records merchandise along with some White Stripes paraphernalia. Jack White’s creativity floods the store with intricately designed ceilings that are made up of square silver plates. There’s a listening booth that sits to the right of a stage showered in blue lights and there are records from The White Stripes, The Dead Weather and other bands that were signed under Third Man that line a hallway in the back that leads to the pressing plant.
The pressing plant is only colored in red and yellow and, according to the store’s reissuing manager Dave Buick, the plant will help create jobs in the neighborhood. Dressed in a black suit with a gold tie — the uniform of all of the store’s male workers, including Jack White himself — Buick describes that his job is to reissue old albums that should be brought back and to help scout talent in Michigan to sign under Third Man.
“Detroit will be good for us,” Buick said, explaining that this is “Detroit Rock City,” and Jack White wants to really make a difference in this area. Aside from opening Third Man in the location close to where Jack White first performed, Buick explained that the Cass Corridor was specifically chosen as the location in hopes to bring the creative and artsy scene back.
“We want to get rid of the junkies and really bring creativity back here,” Buick said. He hopes that Third Man Records will act as a tourist attraction, a record store for music appreciators to browse in, a record pressing factory and a recording studio. The stage in the front room will hold poetry readings, stand-up comedy acts and local band performances.
“We have other plans for the future. This store isn’t the only thing we had in mind,” Buick said. White, Buick and the rest of the team are brainstorming ways to keep the public on their toes and to continue to give back to Detroit. Jack White’s passion to bring the city back to life shows in the contributions he has made. Witnessing the fall of the neighborhood he grew up in, which is just a few blocks away from where Third Man Records now stands, Jack White is just trying to make his hometown feel like home again.