On Sunday, August 23th, 2017, my business partner and best friend, Jeff Pettit, suddenly passed away while working at the store we created together, Fond Object Records. My name is Jem Cohen. I am the co-founder/owner of Fond Object Records. I grew up in New Jersey, Florida, and Los Angeles. I moved to Nashville 9 years ago and while on tour met Jeff in Austin, TX nearly 11 years ago.
Jeff moved from Austin to create this store with my band, The Ettes, in 2013. He left everything behind, packed up his records, and drove up to Nashville with just a dream to have his own record store. Together we created Fond Object Records in Riverside Village which has become more than just a record store. It has become a community space for shows, movie nights, a petting zoo, art spaces, local fashion designers, whatever you can creatively imagine with records being the heart of the store.
When the Riverside Village lease was threatened we were able to open a second location to make sure that the business would stay alive. Neither Jeff nor I could believe that we actually could have a record store in downtown Nashville, and we do and it’s amazing.
Jeff lived his life in record stores. He lived in Tempe, AZ where he worked at Zia Records, then moved to Austin, TX and worked at Cheapo Records. He moved to Nashville where he finally was able to open up his own record store and use all that incredible knowledge he gained throughout the years. He gave everything to this store and community, most of his awesome records, all of his knowledge, and nearly all of his time.
First and foremost we want to take care of his family and their needs. Secondly, we want to keep the business he created alive and thriving. I will be in charge of the finances, and will make sure that the money gets to the family first and then goes towards keeping the business alive.
We are going to use these funds to pay for his family accommodation, travel expenses, transportation and storage of Jeff's belongings, and give the family money to deal with whatever else may arise in the process of taking care of Jeff.
As for Jeff's business we are asking for funds to make sure that our employees get the professional help they need to deal with this tough time. We also need your support to keep the business going in this transitional period. The community deserves to have Fond Object Records - in Riverside Village or Downtown - ideally both! It has always been DIY and owner-operated with nothing but love. We never made a dime, never expected to, and probably still won’t, but that’s never been our end game.
In the longer-term we’re in need of a new hire (or two, or three) to at least attempt to fill the hole Jeff’s passing has left on the daily operations at Fond Object. As many of you know, he was a wizard at finding, pricing, grading, and ordering records. To give you a peek behind the curtain of what it’s like to own a record store - those duties are no small chore, take great skill, and aren’t easily taught. To be honest, most of us here are barely proficient in this, Jeff was practically renown for it, and naturally was criminally-underpaid for his expertise. We won’t have this luxury with the person we’re looking to hire to fulfil this role, so this fundraising effort will help pad our budget to pay this person.
Your generosity is greatly appreciated by both the Pettit and Fond families.
There will be a memorial show to celebrate Jeff’s life tentatively scheduled for Tuesday August 29th, 2017 in the Fond Object Backyard. Please check social media for updates.