Rochester vinyl stores continuing to thrive during phased shutdown; Genesee Brewery polls its fan on vinyl

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Today is National Vinyl Record Day… At least according to a site called “National Today.” The site says that the day was created by a man named Gary Freiberg (the site provides no clues or context to who this person is), to commemorate Emile Berliner’s invention of the phonograph.

But this “national day” was news to at least one record store owner in Rochester:

“Today is this kind of self-proclaimed vinyl record day,” said Alayna Alderman, owner of Record Archive. “Which I was unfamiliar with, to be honest with you. I’m all about Record Store Day, it’s coming up on August 29th.”

Record stores like Record Archive and Bop Shop Records were initially hit hard during the initial shutdown, both had to lay off their staffs.

But for both, their online mail order business has kept them afloat. The owner of Bop Shop Records, Tom Kohn, said many prominent record stores have a “robust” mail order business, which significantly helps keep them in business.

While online sales have only increased since the shutdown and phased reopening, the return of in-store sales have truly solidified their business. But their hours have shrunk; Record Archive closes two hours sooner at 7pm, and Bop Shop Records is only open for browsing three days a week. Even at this pace, business is strong enough, and Kohn says the pace is sustainable for the long term.

Both businesses take capacity guidelines, sanitizing, and masking guidelines seriously. Bop Shop Records especially encourages customers to make appoints to buy or sell records at their website.

Alderman says that she has posted better numbers than this time last year. She while beams talking about how her staff stepped up to the plate, she also says that sales of “new vinyl” have dramatically increased, and those sales are a big part of the increase. “New vinyl” are records that are still in the shrinkwrap, meaning that they’re newly released by a modern artist, or are re-issues of previous records.

But both wizards of the wax say that people are craving a tactile experience of a record while they’re at home, and that is why even when money might be tight, people are voraciously buying up records.

“People really take to listening to music at home,” Kohn said. “Whether it’s streaming, whether it’s Spotify, whether it’s CD, or a record… It’s something to do. and not drive yourself crazy.”

“It makes me so happy because people want to spend time with their music,” Alderman said. “They want that tactile experience, they want the interaction. They’ve got the time now to read the liner notes again, to appreciate the artwork, to really reconnect with the nostalgia of it all.”

Gennesee Cream Ale also got in on vinyl record day… Seriously. They polled their customers to see which vinyl records they loved most.

  • 1. Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
  • 2. The Beatles – The Beatles
  • 3. Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV) – Led Zeppelin
  • 4. Rumors – Fleetwood Mac
  • 5. Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen
  • 6. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
  • 7. Sticky Fingers – Rolling Stones
  • 8. Déjà vu – Crosby, Stills Nash and Young
  • 9. Tommy – The Who
  • 10. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel

The poll follows their collaborative brew with Record Archive — The Genesee Black Raspberry Cream Ale — which sold out in four minutes.

There are three other record stores in Rochester as well, each of whom are open in their own way:

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