Local business keeps business and produce "fresh"

Local business keeps business and produce "fresh"

Music ripples in the background while people flit around from one bin of vinyl to the next. A stand with a handwritten sign reading, “Now Playing,” holds the record currently resonating through the air-wave. Fruits and veggies chill in a refrigerator close by.

William Dantzler, the store’s 25-year-old owner-operator holds up one of his records and fresh fruit up to his face. (Photo taken by Conner Wood)
William Dantzler, the 25-year-old owner-operator of the store holds up one of his records and fresh fruit up to his face. (Photo taken by Conner Wood)

Fresh Produce Records fills its own niche in the Macon community.

Fresh Produce opened in October 2013 to function as a community resource for the things people need at an affordable price, such as music and fresh local produce.

“It’s all in the name, Fresh Produce Records,” William Dantzler, the store’s 25-year-old owner-operator, said with a warm, light laugh.

A self-described loving, happy and kooky guy, Dantzler believes you can make money but use it for good ends.

“People shouldn’t be so worried about how much wealth they can personally amass. It should be about how many people they help, or something like that.”

When asked why he wanted to open the store as a statement against major business conglomerates, Dantzler said, “I’m crazy, I guess. It’s kind of an existential thing.”

“Weird” is what Dantzler calls the music that he and his friends like. But all sorts of musicians play shows in the store a couple of times a month.

Fresh Produce was one of 11 groups in Macon to share a $363,000 art fund from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 2014.

This has helped pay visiting bands, market events and fund a public address for travelling artists, according to a post on the Knight blog.

In addition to the music, the store offers fresh local produce and organic fruit from nearby food distributor, The Dirt Farmers.

Dantzler began creating music himself in “DIY basement rock” bands about 10 years ago and fondly remembers getting his first bass guitar at 13.

Dantzler is now a part of two bands, Cult of Riggonia and Gurgle Twins. Both experiment with sound, but he says that the latter is more raw while the former is more of a “psychedelic-collective” that “breaks down the wall between the performer and the audience.”

Local artists’ records can be found in the store, including the latest from the Cult of Riggonia.

“I curate the store to my own tastes, but of course I’m going to default to stuff I think is good,” Dantzler said. But a wider variety of music has been hand-picked, including hip hop, classic oldies and electronica.

Dantzler says that he always encourages people to bring in records. Fresh Produce buys, sells and trades, although Dantzler admits that they have to be somewhat selective.

The store does not currently cater specifically to art, but Dantzler dreams of ways to expand and says that part of that is “creating a community to support artists and musicians.”

He wants to see more people “coming out of the woodwork” with artistic talents and ambitions.

His mother was an art teacher, so he hopes to bring in an art component and contemplates kickstarting an artist-in-residency. “You’re coming to stay at a place where you’re going to feed your mind, body and soul,” Dantzler said. The food in the store will go along with it—the tie that binds.

He also talks of getting a license to cook food and whip up smoothies for customers, but that will have to wait. He is pretty relaxed—not in any rush.

“I’m, more or less, looking to become a pillar in the community,” said Dantzler.

Above all, Willie D, as some know him, wants to extend an invitation. “You’re welcome. Come over whenever and see what we have going on. We might not be everything we’re hoping to be, quite yet, but we’re getting there. And there’s bound to be something interesting happening.”

Fresh Produce Records is  open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.