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Vinyl brings us together

Heather Frarey moved her store, the Record Lounge, to REO Town earlier this month. The Record Lounge is one of several Greater Lansing stores participating in Record Store Day.
Courtesy Photo

April 22

There is one day a year where Baby Boomer music lovers and Millennial hipsters come together: Record Store Day.

It’s also a special day for local shops, as the quasi-holiday brings in diverse crowds looking to purchase special releases or other Record Store Day goodies. Dave Bernath, owner of East Lansing record store Flat, Black & Circular, said that it’s the shop’s busiest day of the year.

“It’s a good way to recognize independent mom and pop stores,” Bernath said. “We’ve always had vinyl, and we’ll continue to have vinyl until whenever we close.”

Started in April 2008, Record Store Day was created to support and celebrate artists, music stores and fans who still embrace vinyl records. It’s become a significant day for small business owners across the U.S and has spread to countries around the world. It has even been declared an official holiday in several cities, including Los Angeles and New York. Many record labels send out special, limited edition records to sell on that day.

“People line up to come in buy stuff, which we can’t sell until that morning,” Bernath said. “ The only way you can get it is to stand in line that day.”

“It is a lot of detail and effort to put in,” added Chris Baratono, who orders vinyl records for Schuler Books & Music. “As far as the product line goes, it really does help.”

While sales of CDs have plummeted since the rise of iTunes and digital music, vinyl has actually seen growth in sales numbers.

“We got into the vinyl about seven years ago, and vinyl stayed to the point where I had to start ordering vinyl for Grand Rapids,” Baratono said.

This year’s exclusive Record Store Day release range from reissues of Johnny Cash and the Ramones to special edition releases from Bastille and Justin Bieber.

“We get anything from 18-yearolds to 60-year-olds,” Baratono said. “It’s really been nice. It’s a mixed crowd.”

For small shops, of course, Record Store Day can be stressful. Record stores put up a lot of money to get the exclusive releases. Some cities, including Midwest cities like Lansing, may not get certain releases. But most stores are willing to put up with the stress for the financial boon.

“There’s a lot of foot traffic that day and excitement; it’s really fun,” Baratono said.

“There should be a Record Store Day every month,” Bernath said with a laugh. “Come in and experience it. If you’re into music at all, you should be in here.”

Record Store Day Greater Lansing locations Saturday, April 22

Flat Black & Circular 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 541 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing (517) 351-0838, flatblackandcircular.com

The Record Lounge 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 1132 S. Washington Ave., Lansing (517) 862-1976, facebook.com/therecordlounge

Schuler’s Books and Music — Eastwood 9 a.m.-10 p.m. 2820 Towne Center Blvd., Lansing (517) 316-7495, schulersbooks.com

Replay Entertainment Exchange 9 a.m.-9 p.m. 536 E. Grand River Ave., Lansing (517) 999-0346, facebook.com/replayarmy


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