Hydrogen Plus Records | What’s in store
Patrick Schwer pays homage to the history of Printers Row with a new work-in-progess record shop.
While South Side Chicago native Patrick Schwer, 29, completely switched gears when he left his job as an engineer and moved from Oakland, California, back to his hometown, his just opened Printers Row record shop reflects his past career: The shop’s name, Hydrogen Plus, references his work in water engineering. As for the music selection, it’s an evolving mix of new (Schwer is especially knowledgeable about indie labels across the country) and vintage. There’s no niche, with options ranging from hip-hop to electronic.
Taking advantage of the building’s history, Schwer uncovered the original terrazzo flooring—he also found a door in the floor—and the exposed brick wall, which had been obscured by a layer of drywall in the back. “The building is from 1914,” Schwer says. “To me it makes sense for an old-format vinyl shop.” The space eschews the stereotypical cramped, basement-like feel of iconic record shops in favor of a modern-meets-vintage, clean aesthetic. Schwer also employed Floyd Davis to build out the space with architectural details such as wood paneling and tin tiles. In total, he committed about two months to the project and opened up the doors to passersby all along the way. “I was eager to get in here, and I liked the idea of having people come in and see the space evolve,” he says.
It’s no coincidence Schwer chose a space in the vicinity of thousands of college students, but he’s also making an effort to build a sense of community: He raised a small sum for the shop through fund-raising platform IndieGoGo, and he has plans to host everything from readings to live concerts.
Visit Hydrogen Plus Records at 730 S Dearborn St (312-380-5007, hplusrecords.com).