During the recent holiday school break, which was extended by arctic conditions in the Northeast, my family and I returned to my hometown for a visit. One of the hidden gems in the area is a small, cluttered record store with a very distinct odor, musty with a trace of incense. The dated wall paneling, reminiscent of a suburban basement of the 1980’s, is mostly hidden by posters, all of which are for sale.
Unlike big box stores that stock popular CDs as loss leaders to get people in the door, this small record store uses every inch of its limited real estate to stock unique offerings that cater to fans of all genres. From rare concert CDs to classic vinyl, both new and used, this little oasis serves as a nostalgic reminder of days gone by, when music was viewed as a valuable commodity.
Music is so readily available to today’s youth in a digital form that they no longer value it in the same way as those of us who grew up before the Internet existed. For the most part, the younger generation views music as something that they are entitled to enjoy for free, like broadcast television or terrestrial radio. It’s hard to blame them when most have never set foot in a record store.
The time that I spent with my son in this local record store during our visit was not planned. We happened to be in the shopping center because my daughter was shopping at a girly retail store with a gift card that she got for the holidays. Knowing full well that my daughter’s decision-making process is time consuming (to say the least), we knew that we had plenty of time to kill.
Rather than walk around the store with my son, I decided to let him explore on his own while I checked out the variety of hard rock and metal albums in the ample vinyl section.
I came across a brand new copy of Metallica’s Master Of Puppets, and nearly fell over when I saw the price tag – $51.99! All of the vinyl in new condition was very pricey, proving that the format still holds great appeal for the older generation. Some of the used vinyl, housed in tattered sleeves, was much more reasonably priced, and brought me back to my teenage days when I would go to record conventions at local hotels.
On more than one occasion, my son came up to me to show me what he had found. His genuine enthusiasm for the record store experience was something to behold. A great sense of pride washed over me when he said that he would go to the store all the time if we lived in the area. While he may not be able to go as frequently as I did when I was growing up, I will make sure to spend some time there each time we go back to visit so that my son will continue his appreciation for the record store experience.
NOTE: The photo above was taken by my son.