In a world full of technology, where everything is a few clicks away, here on Long Island, the age-old tradition of shopping at record stores is thriving thanks to the vinyl revival. Sure, there’s easy access to music via iTunes, YouTube, Pandora and Spotify, but they don't provide that physical connection. Here are five local brick-and-mortar storefronts throughout Nassau and Suffolk that are keeping the flame lit.
LOONEY TUNES RECORD STORE
The Groeger family opened Looney Tunes in West Babylon back in 1971. Karl Sr. has since passed the business down to his sons Karl Jr. and Jamie. Today, the Groeger brothers have balanced the store’s inventory with new and used vinyl and CDs plus turntables. However, Karl Jr. thinks vinyl is making a comeback because the listening process is more enjoyable.
"Listening to music as a stream only uses one of your senses — hearing," he says. "With vinyl, you are using three of your senses — hearing to listen to the music, sight to look at the liner notes and touch to feel the cover in your hands. This will give you a different emotional experience. Listening to an album from beginning to end is like reading a story."
INFO 31 Brookvale Ave., West Babylon, 631-587-7722, looneytuneslongisland.com
At Infinity Records in Massapequa Park, the focus is mainly on vinyl both new and used.
"Usually, the old vinyl sounds better because some of the new vinyl pressings on the vintage artists is just a transfer of digital copies, which is not analog," says owner Joe Ostermeier. "It’s all relative to the transfer process."
However, the store also sells CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, music memorabilia, used guitars and vintage stereo equipment.
Ostermeier says, "If it’s about music over the last 60 years, we will usually have it if we are able to acquire it."
INFO 510 Park Blvd., Massapequa Park, 516-221-0634, infinityrecordsusa.com
HIGH FIDELITY RECORDS & CDS
High Fidelity in Amityville, which is named after the book by Nick Hornby/2000 John Cusack film, zones in on used vinyl and CDs. Owner Marc Sendik feels music fans still like to physically purchase music.
"People want to say they own an album, not just listen to it," he says. "They like to have a tangible piece of music that they can look at to see who produced and engineered the album, who wrote the songs and read the lyrics. You can't do that on Spotify."
Currently, the store’s vinyl sales are on the rise.
"Right now, vinyl is getting stronger," says Sendik. "I don’t see it going anywhere in the near future."
INFO 141 Merrick Road, Amityville, 631-264-0524, highfidelitycds.com
Record Stop in Patchogue has been serving Long Islanders since 1974. Although the store sells both vinyl and CDs, vinyl has never been hotter.
"The past four years, vinyl has been exploding," says owner Jeff Berg. "The sound is imperfectly perfect. It’s much warmer and fuller."
In fact, these days, Berg sees his customers getting younger.
"Tons of teenagers come in with their parents," he says. "I think they are craving something to collect. Vinyl records can be brought home and shared with their friends."
INFO 30 Railroad Ave., Patchogue, 631-585-3294, recordstopny.com
MR. CHEAPO CD & RECORD EXCHANGE
With two locations in Mineola and Commack, Mr. Cheapo attributes the longevity of its business to the resurgence of vinyl.
"If it wasn’t for vinyl, we’d be long gone," says co-owner Stu Goldberg. "I thought we were closing up 15 years ago when vinyl was disappearing. I’m in shock that we are still here."
Mr. Cheapo is known for its deep catalog of stock on used vinyl and CDs which customers browse through for hours.
"Some shop to collect, while others try to fill in blanks that they can’t find on streaming services," says Goldberg. "We have everything from classic rock to classical and anything in between."
INFO 46 Jericho Turnpike, Commack: 631-543-8686, 134 Jericho Turnpike in Mineola: 516-742-7670; mrcheapocds.com
RECORD SHOW IN WESTBURY
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Slipped Disc Records in Valley Stream was one of Long Island’s most popular record stores. Although the store closed in 2008, owner Mike Schutzman has started his own traveling record show called Vinyl Revolution, which comes to Cluett Hall at 295 Stewart Avenue in Garden City on Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We offer a wide variety of stuff,” says Schutzman. “You can pick up cheap $3 records to highly collectible $300 records.”
There will be 55 dealer tables featuring massive amounts of vinyl ranging from rock to reggae to punk to blues to jazz to metal. An assortment of CDs and music memorabilia fill out the show. Admission is $5 and although there’s no proof of vaccination required, mask wearing is mandated. - DAVID J. CRIBLEZ