When Alex Koch was 5 years previous, her dad and mom introduced her to The Heavy Steel Store, the legendary downtown Salt Lake Metropolis music retailer that proudly proclaims, in its motto, to be “peddlin’ evil.”
“It’s at all times been our household factor to return down,” Koch mentioned Sunday, through the retailer’s thirty fifth anniversary celebration.
Koch’s personal daughter is now 5, and was first delivered to the store when she was 6 months previous, for the thirtieth anniversary. “Her first birthday footage are literally in her Heavy Steel Store onesie with a pink tutu,” Koch mentioned.
Koch was one in all dozens of mates of the store who stopped by 63 E. Alternate Place on Sunday, to have fun the shop’s thirty fifth anniversary. Individuals talked to the shop’s proprietor, Kevin Kirk, to congratulate him on the shop’s success — and to supply their assist as he runs the shop with out his household.
Angie Kirk, Kirk’s spouse died in March, after a sudden leukemia analysis. Joey (26 years old) was born to them. struck by a TRAX train and killed November 2017
Outdoors the store, Kevin’s mates helped put up tents to fight the document excessive warmth. There was a face portray station exterior, the place individuals may get spray tattoos of the shop’s iconic skull logo. Angie had a huge tattoo of 1 on the right side of her bicep.
Kevin sported each momentary photos on completely different sides of his neck, and wore a shirt with the phrases “Most Angie Love” — referencing his son (whose nickname was “Most”) and spouse.
Their absence was deeply felt throughout Sunday’s celebration — particularly since each had been round and doing the face portray on the thirtieth anniversary occasion 5 years in the past.
“You stroll into this place and also you undoubtedly know she’s nonetheless right here,” Koch mentioned of Angie. “She’ll by no means depart Kevin.”
Koch says that The Heavy Steel Store is run by the owners and staff who are always available. The store has turn into a second residence, she mentioned — and when she went by way of her divorce, it’s the primary place she went.
“They make everyone really feel welcome and so they make everyone really feel like they’re household,” Koch mentioned. “Each time you stroll in right here, you get a smile. No matter the situation. You can always smile at them. Not many locations within the metropolis are you able to stroll in and it doesn’t matter what, there’s a smile.”
For Kevin’s brother, Bion Kirk, Sunday’s occasion was an emotional factor to witness.
“I knew that he excelled at what he did,” Bion mentioned. However Bion mentioned he didn’t anticipate seeing so many individuals displaying their love and assist.
“All people refers to him because the godfather of the music scene in Salt Lake,” Bion Kirk mentioned of his brother. “It’s simply the candy love you get from kindness and years of being particular person.”
Sunday’s occasions had been emceed by Utah radio host ‘Dangerous’ Brad Wheeler, and featured performances from Sammy Brue, Michael Dean Damron, Carl Carbonell, Travis Labrel, Pete Sands and Morgan Snow.
Wheeler said he was a big fan of this store and accepted Kevin’s offer to host it. Wheeler mentioned he at all times teases Kevin that he ought to change the title to “Heavy Steel Store and a lot extra.”
“Clearly it’s a venue, clearly it’s a retailer, nevertheless it’s simply the soul of an individual who is among the music’s greatest followers,” Wheeler mentioned.
Snow opened the day’s performances with an acoustic nation/Western set whose intimacy match the setting, the place the stage takes up a lot of the room. It’s a venue that forces individuals to cease, be nonetheless, and simply pay attention — and encourages all kinds of musical kinds, past the screaming metallic the shop’s title suggests.
Sunday’s festivities additionally included the shop’s annual weiner canine race — impressed by the canine Angie and Kevin at all times owned. Zamboni won the race over Penny, Stanley, and Ladybug.
Kevin Kirk maintained contact with his children and grandchildren throughout the celebration. The entire household and the group across the store are working to hold on with out the household’s matriarch.
“This weekend I’ve been fairly emotional,” Kirk admitted. “I miss her a lot, however I really feel like she’s serving to me.”
The shop isn’t just a giant a part of Kirk’s life, he mentioned, however part of his soul.
“I don’t know what I’d do with out it, it’s actually saved me,” Kirk mentioned. “I’d be so misplaced with out it.”
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