When discussing the contributions to the musical culture in Miami, one cannot go without mentioning the iconic record store and cafe Sweat Records. Founded in March 2005 by best friends Lauren (Lolo) Reskin and Sara Yousuf, the original location was demolished by Hurricane Wilma. The owners eventually relocated in 2007 to their permanent store front in historic Little Haiti. The new location incorporated Miami’s only fully Vegan coffee shop. The store offers a wide variety of new and used LPs and CDs, a curated selection of magazines, books, gifts, local music, books and t-shirts, as well as a full range of delicious coffee and tea beverages and vegan snacks. While enjoying some tunes and a signature Chai/Expresso concoction named the “Dirty South Chai”, I received the opportunity to speak with general manager Emile Milgrim about the Sweat Records legacy.
Dirty South Chai
What do you think is that defining aspect that keeps Sweat Records so successful in an industry that neglects its roots?
I think we are able to provide a variety. We carry something for everyone. More importantly, our attitude is all about helping our customers. Record store employees are known for having an elitist attitude towards their customers. We are the opposite; we’re all about being a community, interacting with customers and learning from them.
Who was your most memorable musician that stopped into the store?
Will Oldham, an Indie/Folk musician. He was doing a record store only tour in Florida with Angel Olsen and stopped in. He set up, and just jammed out an acoustic set. He took requests and everything. It was awesome. One of my personal experiences that left me in awe was when Chris Brokaw, the drummer from my favorite band Codeine came in.
Sweat Records hosts Miami’s only fully vegan coffee shop, why vegan and what are some of the vegan snacks you offer?
The owner thought it would be a great idea to enjoy something to drink while you browse around and listen to music. Sweat Records also does not sell any products with animal products or by products including merchandise. Some of the treats we offer are a selection of vegan cupcakes, energy bars, cookies, chips and jerky.
What do you want customers to take away with them when they visit Sweat?
Records. (laughs) Really, we just want customers to have a positive experience in a record store. We know it can be intimidating, but we want people to be excited when they come in.
Learn more about Sweat Records here.
Sweat Records is located at 5505 NE 2nd Ave Miami, FL 33137