A new store featuring vintage roleplaying games and records is now open in Ypsilanti at 9 S. Washington St.
Wyrd Byrd opened on Nov. 2 after receiving a final inspection from the city.
“'Wyrd' has always been a word I wanted to use in a business name. It means something similar to fate, but in modern English, it became ‘weird,’ meaning odd or strange,” Shawn Gates, owner of Wyrd Byrd, said. “We have pet birds, which are a large part of our lives, so we also decided to add that in but keep the spelling with a ‘y’ because we liked it. I’ve heard folks say it a few different ways, and all are correct.”
Gates is an EMU alumni from the class of 2001 and has worked as a software engineer since graduating. He owns Wyrd Byrd along with his wife Brooke Gates.
Wyrd Byrd will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and open Wednesdays through Sundays with varying hours.
“My wife and I work full time jobs and need to work around that. In the future, we hope to be able to extend our hours during the weekdays,” Gates said.
The store will feature both new and used items, focusing on vintage role-playing games and vinyl records of all genres. The couple stocks the role-playing games and vinyl records that interest them because they are likely also to interest others who enter the store. For new and used vinyl, they carry primarily independent labels. Genres include indie pop, electronic, and metal.
“We hope to continue expanding on our offerings to not only include vinyl, books, and zines from around the world, but also those created within our community,” Gates said.
The idea to open up Wyrd Byrd had been in the couple's minds for years before they decided to make that dream come true. Shawn and Brooke don’t have any prior business experience, so this will be a new adventure for them to explore together. They have lived in Ypsilanti for 20 years.
“We’ve talked about opening a record or book store for years because we collect both of these things. We also read and traded for zines back in the 80s and 90s,“ Gates said. “We decided to combine all of these things into the kind of store we wanted to walk into ourselves.”
To see more about the store, visit @wyrd.byrd.ypsi on Instagram.