Last Wednesday I met with Justin Tyskewicz at the site of the upcoming Eyeconik Records and Apparel. A few people were coming in and out, completing various tasks. To my eyes, the space was merely that, a space. An incredible amount of records stored in boxes, and other tell-tale ingredients for a record store caught my eye, but as yet I could not see the whole. We settled in a back room, slightly nestled away from the ongoing work. I looked to Justin to put all of these parts into a cohesive whole for me.
While Eyeconik Records and Apparel is new to downtown, it is, in fact, nearing ten years of business. In 2008 amid an economic crisis, Justin and his wife took a shared love of music and vinyl and sculpted it into a business. At only 21, Justin opened the doors of Eyeconik for the first time. Originally opened in a Downtown district, not unlike our own Downtown Las Cruces. While their fledgling business prospered they completed their family with a son. It was not until Justin’s wife, April, found a job opportunity here in Las Cruces that the family came to our great city.
For the past five years, Eyeconik has been open two days a week with a storefront near Bid Daddy’s Flea Market. During this time Eyeconik again prospered, but Justin’s family faced hard times. At four-years-old Justin’s son began to suffer from seizures. He was diagnosed with Rasmussen’s Encephalitis: a rare, chronic inflammatory neurological disease. One can’t imagine what they went through; however, after major brain surgery his son recovered. While some of his fine motor skills have been affected, he is a healthy happy eight-year-old boy today. After this ordeal, Justin decided he needed to build something that his son could grow into a full-time family business.
As we talked we walked to and fro, Justin directing my attention to different areas of the store and explaining what each will be, I found his enthusiasm infectious.
Eyeconik will continue to boast an impressive collection of upwards of 30,000 records, and will sell t-shirts among other great merchandise; however, what struck me was how clear a vision Justin has.
With the aim of Eyeconik doubling as a live music venue, Justin hopes to embolden young musicians and support local artists. He states, “I know it’s so hard to be an artist. I really want to support artists. Which is why I wanted to be downtown. It’s the whole idea of the downtown community.” Justin went on to discuss how Eyeconik is truly for the community by declaring to all potential frequenters, “Eyeconik is what you want it to be.”
With a determination to foster an atmosphere of unbiased acceptance, and inclusiveness; this idea of the community will be mirrored within the walls of the store. He used the example of a shy 16-year-old coming into Eyeconik looking for a record or two. Instead, the teen maybe finds someone to talk to or a friend. Ideally, that troubled or socially awkward teen could find a place to belong.
In no uncertain terms, Justin discussed the future of this family business as growing to be a staple of Downtown Las Cruces and being open for years to come. It seems for this young business owner Eyeconik exists at the intersection of a personal passion for music and records, and the wellbeing and future of his family. According to Justin his “Why?” simply put, is his son. And so with a clarity of purpose Justin’s efforts are focused on fulfilling his vision of Eyeconik.
As I made my way out of the shop, I found that no longer did I see cluttered construction supplies, or empty rooms. No, I could see records and bustling customers. I could hear the music of local musicians’ echoing through the store. I could see a shy teenager shuffling through record sleeves. I found myself pondering what it means to belong.
Belonging is sometimes a difficult thing to find for an individual or a business; however, I can say with certainty that Justin, his family, and Eyeconik belong here in Downtown Las Cruces.
The shop will be open for business sometime in September, I know I’ll be there. I hope you will join DLCP in welcoming Eyeconik into our downtown community!
New Location: 224 N. Campo
Youtube: Justin Las Cruces
Facebook: Eyeconik Records & Apparel