A Music Lifestyle Brand’s New Retail Spin

Fool’s Gold Records nurtures its Brooklyn roots in its innovative new space

commercial renovations

When Brooklyn-born brand Fool’s Gold Records needed to expand from their small office-turned-retail-shop, they turned to designer Dong-Ping Wong of the cutting-edge firm Family New York. The designer called on Sweeten to find a general contractor to execute his client’s vision, including the use of interesting building materials. Known as “a launching pad for some of the greatest music acts in the game today,” writes Hypebeast, Fool’s Gold wanted a flagship that reflected its substance and spirit.

PROJECT: Fool’s Gold Records moved from an existing space on Metropolitan Ave to a new larger flagship retail space

LOCATION: 147 Grand Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

INTERVIEW WITH: Ben Jacobs, General Manager

RENOVATION TEAM: Designer Dong-Ping Wong of cutting-edge Family New York hired a Sweeten general contractor

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Sweeten: What is Fool’s Gold Records and how did the brand begin?

Ben Jacobs, Fool’s Gold Records: The company was founded by two DJs, A-trak and Nick Catchdubs, as a Brooklyn-based record label in 2007. We’ve morphed into a retail brand and a bit of a marketing agency, but first and foremost we’re a record label.

commercial renovationsOriginal retail shop on Metropolitan Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Sweeten: What led to the opening of a brick-and-mortar store?

FGR: We felt it was important to have a retail presence as an extension of the brand and the art that we create. Our first retail store and offices were actually in the same space on Metropolitan in Brooklyn. We were making tee shirts and either selling them online or tossing them off stage at shows. We decided, “Let’s take advantage of this space and open it up to the public.” It was a success and just came to a point where we outgrew it and it was a little too small to do enough with it. I happened to walk by this building—147 Grand Street—and saw a big open space for rent. The wheels started turning and we decided to come up with a new space that was more functional for how the brand was evolving.

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New retail space on Grand Street

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Sweeten: How does your new retail space represent your brand? Why did you need to leave your former location?

FGR: The old space was very narrow. Everything was fixed and there wasn’t much room to grow. The idea for the new space was not only to be bigger but a little bit more modular. For events, we have the flexibility to pull the podiums out or move the DJ booth over a bit. We’re doing art shows, workshops for kids, and DJ workshops—a range that ties into New York’s creative, arts and music community.

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Sweeten: How was your vision executed by working with Sweeten?

FGR: I worked closely with our Sweeten contractor who did the work to make the space a reality. We had a pretty defined concept visually, but it was a bit up in the air in terms of how we were going to execute it. These enfilades that we’re sitting under, these three structures, were an experiment. We had to figure out how we were going to get the polycarbonate to stand and be sturdy and supported during events. Due to the nature of a lot of the materials we selected, there was a fair amount of trial and error and I appreciated the contractor’s willingness to experiment until we found the right methods and his patience throughout the process. We wouldn’t have been able to do that without him.

“The enfilades were a simple way to get a strong view right when you walk in. It also takes all the aspects of Fool’s Gold and puts them on display individually, sort of like laying out the ingredients for a recipe.” – Designer Dong-Ping Wong

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Sweeten: How did you, as a client, work with Sweeten?

FGR: We found Sweeten through our designer, Family New York. I definitely noticed how quickly and efficiently we were able to get bids and that it wasn’t a disjointed process. From the receiving end, it was like, “Wow! We’ve got a lot of general contracting options here, and a lot of good people who are interested in this job. Great!” It simplified the process and gave us a very strict and transparent way of comparing our options and what’s out there. During the renovation, there was a lot of communication with our Sweeten contractor—emails, calls, weekly meetings. He was very involved in the process and genuinely concerned with making sure it turned out exactly as we were hoping.

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Sweeten: How do you think Sweeten can help small business owners like yourself?

FGR: Sweeten helps business owners by simplifying and demystifying the process a bit. It’s pretty daunting if you’ve never been through the renovation process before. So you’ll have questions like, “Where do I start? What are the first steps? When do I know I’m done?” All these different questions you have going into it kind of blind. It definitely takes a bit of the edge off of figuring out what to do and if you’re feeling a little bit lost.

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Thank you Fool’s Gold Records and Ben for sharing your renovation story. We hope you make great art in your new space.

If you’re gearing up for a commercial renovation, check out our 5 steps to remodeling a business space.

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