New store opens in Fairfield

For the longest time, Eric DePrato and his sons, Jack and Mitchell, didn’t know what to do with the retail space they leased, but they knew it would be a record shop.

“I don’t know anything about retail, and the boys, they don’t know anything about it,” Eric said of himself and his sons Jack, 21, and Mitchell, 17. So after about a year of uncertainty and second-guessing decisions, on Nov. 12, they opened Three Feather Records at 1105 Magie Ave. in Fairfield.

“Finally we said we were tired of messing around and we’ve got to make a decision and go with it. It’s whatever we found on Pintrest.”

The store’s name is a tribute to Maria DePrato, Eric’s wife of 20 years and the boy’s mother, who died four years ago from complications of lung cancer. And it’s also a subtle tribute to Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters frontman whose music helped the three as they grieved Maria’s death. They also have a large Dave Grohl mural on the back of the store.

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Three Feather Records is now open on 1105 Magie Drive in Fairfield. The shop has new and used records, turntables and accessories, guitars, music posters, t-shirts, books and more. Most of the shelving in the store is on wheels so it can be moved out of the way for live music performances on occasion. The shop is run by Eric DePrato and his two sons Jack and Mitch. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Three Feather Records is now open on 1105 Magie Drive in Fairfield. The shop has new and used records, turntables and accessories, guitars, music posters, t-shirts, books and more. Most of the shelving in the store is on wheels so it can be moved out of the way for live music performances on occasion. The shop is run by Eric DePrato and his two sons Jack and Mitch. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

caption arrowCaption
Three Feather Records is now open on 1105 Magie Drive in Fairfield. The shop has new and used records, turntables and accessories, guitars, music posters, t-shirts, books and more. Most of the shelving in the store is on wheels so it can be moved out of the way for live music performances on occasion. The shop is run by Eric DePrato and his two sons Jack and Mitch. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

“Everything was pretty rough, pretty raw,” said Eric, a retired Army veteran and nurse.

They toured the country, went to Foo Fighter concerts and Eric said “a lot of their music helped all of us through.”

Then they kept finding feathers as Maria loved feathers, he said. While he’s not superstitious, it was curious, he said. So Eric and Jack got large forearm-length tattoos to honor Marie ― Mitchell will get his feather when he turns 18 ― and it was also a tribute to Grohl, who has a pair of forearm-length feather tattoos.

The idea to open a music shop occurred after Jack had a difficult time shipping a guitar on a website, and due to a laborious process, he ended up losing money on the deal. They had a conversation and “one thing led to another” and the idea for the record store surfaced.

Eric had his doubts.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, I’d like to throw money down a hole. Sure,’” he said.

But he didn’t know the local music stores have blossomed in recent years, including Plaid Room Records in Loveland to Main Street Vinyl and Third Street Music in Hamilton.

It took just one trip to Plaid Room Records for him to concede, “Let’s try it. We’ll have some fun.”

Now the plan is to sell vintage albums, including 45s, and guitars, band t-shirts, and music accessories, like record players and speakers. They also are inviting bands to play, and the displays are on wheels so they can accommodate various setups. Every Friday and Saturday they plan to have live music, but Eric said “we’ll have live shows whenever somebody wants.

“The plan is if somebody wants to play on a Tuesday afternoon, come on in and do it,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be music. It could be spoken word, poetry.”

Fairfield Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kert Radel said people are discovering, and in some cases re-discovering, the “special sound” of vinyl records.

“It really is a resurgence,” said Radel, a former radio DJ.

While he’s glad to see a surge in new small businesses coming to Butler County and Fairfield to hang a shingle, the key to their success is, however, customers supporting those businesses.

“Without their support, the small business people would not be able to continue to operate. (Customers) need to support, not just on Saturday once a year, but Small Business Day should be every day,” said Radel.

Eventually, they want to work with other record stores and music stores in the region so they could “make the area almost into a music spot, kind of a music draw.”

The long-term plan isn’t just to sell albums, but to create an independent label, similar to Plaid Room Record’s Colemine Records label.

But for now, Eric said, “Let’s get this down first, see how it goes. And as we meet more people and more doors open, we’ll see what happens.”

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