The Doo Wop Shop, a music store and gear rental company, is not going out of business, owner Bill Himbaugh stressed.
Back when the company’s Bardstown Road store caught on fire in 2008, people were under the misconception that it was closed for good. That wasn’t the case then and isn’t the case now, said Himbaugh, whose father Victor Himbaugh founded the Doo Wop Shop in 1971. The store at 1587 Bardstown Road later reopened and continues to operate today.
However, the Doo Wop Shop had to vacate its storefront at 2915 Hurstbourne Parkway after 12 years because the building came under new ownership. Its last day there was June 14.
Arizona-based real estate investment firm Store Capital bought the 10,000-square-foot building, which was mostly vacant besides the Doo Wop Shop, in February for just more than $1 million, according to Jefferson County property records.
When Himbaugh reached out to the company, he said they did not know he was a tenant in the building and wanted to stay. The two tried to negotiate lease terms but could not agree.
“The terms of the lease kept getting more and more unfavorable,” he said, adding that he’d been trying to buy the property himself for nine years.
So Store Capital gave the Doo Wop Shop a few weeks to pack up and vacate the property, too short a time for Himbaugh to find a new East End location.
“This store out here has grown tremendously,” he said. “It’s really kind of a shock to the system to fold it all down in three weeks.”
Doo Wop Shop is now on the hunt for a new storefront and has moved its equipment, services and employees from Hurstbourne Parkway to the Bardstown Road store for the time being.
“I would love to have another spot out of J-town, Middletown,” Himbaugh said, adding that he is taking his time finding a good space because lease terms can be expensive in those areas. “I would love to buy a building, but that sort of thing takes time.”
Meanwhile, Store Capital has leased the building to a Minneapolis-based company called Hemisphere Swim Hurstab until 2031 for its Hemisphere Swim School, county property records show.
The lease agreement was signed by Ali Alizadeh, president of private investment business Hemisphere Companies, which owns casinos, hotels, restaurants, service-based companies and other assets, according to its website. Hemisphere also owns a swim school chain called Bear Paddle Swim School that has locations in Illinois and Ohio. (Click here for photos of Bear Paddle swim schools in other markets.)
Calls to Store Capital and Hemisphere Companies were not returned.