New Haven record store stands the test of time - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New Haven record store stands the test of time

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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

For serious music lovers, there’s just something about the sound of vinyl.

And while there aren’t that many record stores left, one in Connecticut has withstood the test of time and is celebrating a pretty big anniversary this weekend.

Merle’s Record Rack started in 1962, the location in downtown New Haven. They had a couple of outposts after that. Now there is only one left in Orange, and it’s celebrating its 55th anniversary.

“Once they hear it, that’s what gets them. Getting that bug, getting that audio, visual, looking at the record cover, put the record on, something to do together,” Michael Papa, of Merle’s Record Rack, said.

Michael Papa said there’s just something about listening to a record.

“It brings people back to certain times,” Papa said.

He should know, he got his start at Merle’s Record Rack in the 1970’s.

“Sidewalk summer sale up at the Connecticut Post Mall and from there I started working at Merle’s,” Papa said.

Eventually opening up his own location in 1984 in Derby, and later moving the store to Orange.

Now his location is all that remains.

And in the days of iTunes and digital downloads, not many record stores are left.

And this old school shop is celebrating its 55th year of selling records in the New Haven region.

“For any business, 55 years is a long time, especially in the digital age. There were a lot of lean years, a lot of questionable years,” Papa said.

But what was once old is now new again.

“The big thing now is records. Vinyl has made this surge again,” Papa said.

And if vinyl is what you’re looking for, there’s a chance Papa has it or can find it. And it’s not just records.

There are plenty of CDs, rare music posters and plenty of turntables and stereo systems.

Something he says keeps collectors coming back after all these years.

“One thing we never gave up on [was] our music, our records, our philosophy of trying to make everyone feel at home when they come into the store,” Papa said.

They’re going to have live music and a number of sales to celebrate here on Saturday.

They’re also going to be bringing back some former employees to celebrate as well.

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