by Rafael Pena
November 27, 2023
Grand Rapids welcomed a new cultural milestone with the opening of Della Soul Records, the first vinyl record shop owned by a Black woman.
On Nov. 4, Grand Rapids welcomed a new cultural milestone with the opening of Della Soul Records, the city’s first vinyl record shop owned by a Black woman, according to WoodTV. Della Marie Levi, driven by her lifelong passion for music and inspired by her father’s vinyl record collection, has transformed her dream into reality by establishing this unique record store.
Music has always held a special place in Levi’s heart, as she reminisced about her father’s enthusiasm for vinyl records. “He loved vinyl records. He was in the special zone whenever he listened to his vinyl records,” Levi fondly recalled to WoodTV. Her journey into vinyl records began when she decided to learn DJing using this classic medium. Starting with pop-up shops, she recently expanded into her permanent brick-and-mortar store on Kalamazoo Avenue near Hall Street, officially named Della Soul Records.
Reflecting on her remarkable achievement, Levi expressed her desire for the store to be more than a commercial space. “I want to be here for a while. I want people to know where to find me. I want them to know that this is a space for them,” she emphasized, underlining her commitment to creating a community-oriented hub for music enthusiasts.
As the first Black woman to own a vinyl record shop in Grand Rapids, Levi aims to foster connections through the power of music. “I started collecting vinyl, and I thought, what is my next going to be? And I said, I’m going to own a record store, and here we are,” Levi proudly declared. Her vision goes beyond a business venture; she envisions Della Soul Records as a welcoming space where people can share their love for music.
This achievement holds deep personal significance for Levi, who acknowledged the support of those who contributed to her journey, especially her father. In honoring his memory, Levi remarked, “I know if he were still alive, he would be in this store today listening to music, sitting on my sofa, and beaming from ear to ear with joy.”
Della Soul Records, situated on Kalamazoo Avenue, operates from Thursday to Sunday, welcoming music enthusiasts from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Levi’s accomplishment marks a significant cultural addition to Grand Rapids, offering not just a record store but a vibrant community space celebrating the love of vinyl and the diversity of music.