The federal government heart finds a brand new location and a brand new imaginative and prescient | Music | Pittsburgh

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CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

Customers walk through the Government Center record store on East Street on Pittsburgh’s North Side before an evening of shows on Friday, August 13th.

After opening its original location on East Ohio Street in January 2019, the Government Center has quickly become a favorite with Pittsburgh record collectors. But it’s not just a place to buy and sell music, the store doubles as a venue for local and traveling bands. Now the record store has moved a few blocks away to a new, larger space on East Street on the North Side, and the move has resulted in big things. For owner Josh Cozby and event coordinator Derek January, the changes are both welcome and exciting.

Cozby says they were offered an opportunity to buy a building that would give them more financial flexibility, which was important in their decision to move to East Street. Your new location is much larger than your previous location, which was an important factor.

That means they now have even more space for records. “But more importantly, we have room for a stage where we can properly host live events,” says Cozby. “And then we’re also building an espresso bar in our building. There is a tenant’s room for what we think will eventually be a kind of bar and a small grocery store. ”

Jan says the space is especially exciting for the retail store because it’s a place where people can meet, whether or not they’re in the market for a record. Many local spaces that would have served as social centers have been closed, some due to the pandemic, and so the government center is hoping to fill the void.

“We have a really unique opportunity to bring a lot of people with us … not just for records, but also for entertainment, fellowship, food and drinks,” says January. “And that in turn can lead you to become a record collector.”

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Pittsburgh rapper Lys Scott on stage at the Government Center on Friday August 13th.  - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

Pittsburgh rapper Lys Scott on stage at the Government Center on Friday August 13th.

Cozby and January actually met in the store. Cozby moved his family to Pittsburgh three years ago after teaching at an Oregon public school. He says he wasn’t crazy about the place he lived, he always had the dream of opening a record store, and Pittsburgh seemed just the right place to start a business.

January was a customer when the store had only been open for about a month. Cozby mentioned back to January that he was planning to host a big opening party, but he was new to town and didn’t have the connections with local acts and other companies to hold such an event. So he brought January on board and continues to lead events for the shop.

January is from Pittsburgh and grew up in the Fox Chapel area. He went to Duquesne for media management and production and later worked in marketing and promotion for Stage AE and spent time at iHeart Radio before joining the Government Center.

For both Cozby and January, music is more than just their job.

“As I’ve gotten older and life has different challenges, it’s still the same. [Music] is what I use to process what’s going on in my life, to get myself out of my mind and see things from a different perspective, ”says Cozby. “You know, I listen to different voices and ideas in ways that I might not have in my normal life.”

Same goes for January, who played in several bands himself.

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Customers browse records in the Government Center.  - CP-PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

Customers browse records in the Government Center.

“Music, I have the feeling that it shaped my personality, you know, music shaped me. It connected me to so many people, ”he says. “Music is everything to me and always has been, to work in an environment in which we connect with people, in which I constantly meet people who think the same way. It’s the best job ever. ”

While the advent of streaming services has virtually made purchasing physical media obsolete, there is still a market for vinyl and you can find record collections in many homes in Pittsburgh and beyond. It has survived as a form of listening to music, in part because of its affordability, but according to Cozby, it also enables a specific connection with the artist who created the music.

“I think in that sense it’s literally and metaphorically a connection with the person who made it, with the artist,” says Cozby.

This connection with the artist is what draws people to come to the Government Center and with the new space the couple are hoping people will come for the records or live music first but stay for the new amenities that are added to the venue.

On Friday, August 20, they will celebrate their second big (re) opening together.

The grand reopening of the Government Center with The Gotobeds, Rave Ami and BRNDA, followed by a dance party led by Diamond Life. 7 p.m. Fri., August 20. 715 East St., North Side. Free.

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