Vinyl fans in a spin over new Edmonton record store

From the unique sound to the hard-to-find labels, Edmonton's new collectors love old vinyl.

100,000 records to choose from as Record Collector’s Paradise takes advantage of trend

Wooly bullies, dancing pink flamingoes and the King are among the unique covers and sounds that Edmonton collectors credit for spike in vinyl sales. (Gareth Hampshire/CBC)

Since he was a kid, Bruce Romaniuk has been collecting records and dreaming of having his own record store.

It's a dream that came true Wednesday, when he opened the doors to Record Collector's Paradise in northwest Edmonton.

Romaniuk fell in love with vinyl at the age of 13, when he became hooked on the rich, warm sound and the experience that goes with playing records. 

"I do like the sound, but probably more so for myself I like holding on to the music, I like seeing a picture and taking the liner notes out of the album cover and reading them and learning about the band," he said.

Record store owner Bruce Romaniuk with a collector's prize: a rare Beatles cover album. (Gareth Hampshire/CBC)
Now he's looking forward to "being able to sit and have people come in, chat music, play music and hopefully make a little bit of money at it as well."

Romaniuk said he believes the surging popularity in vinyl sales makes it a good time to open a store.

Statistics from Nielsen Music show vinyl record sales have shot up by a staggering 260 per cent in the past five years.

"There are a lot of record collectors in Edmonton, and I think all you have to do is look around. And even in the new stores that carry new vinyl it's being pressed again," Romaniuk said.

Romaniuk said 10 years ago it was hard to find a turntable. "It's really turned around and there's lots of interest from all ages," he added.

There's such growing interest that several mainstream stores are also branching out into vinyl. London Drugs carries 460 titles in its 68 locations in western Canada, just three years after starting to sell records again.

Paradise by the record store light

The chain began with limited-edition pressings of Pink Floyd's The Wall, which was a package including books and photos. Originally it was only going to carry the album on CD but decided to sell the vinyl package as well, which ended up outselling the CD version by five to one. It's seen huge demand for vinyl ever since.

Romaniuk's Edmonton store at 11004 150th Street boasts a collection of about 100,000 vinyl records, including 45s, 78s, 12-inch singles and LPs. There's also hard-to-find music memorabilia, stereo equipment, cassette tapes and even eight track tapes.

Vinyl collectors were waiting at the door Thursday ready for the noon launch. James Price, who has about 3,000 records already, was one of the first to go inside. 

"Vinyl is an experience, it's not just taking a piece of plastic, opening it up and putting it in," Price said. "You can sit on your bed and open up an album and look at the cover while you're listening. 

"You get a smell of mustiness in your room if you have a lot of albums, just something romantic about that."

Edmontonians lined up Thursday to get inside new store for vinyl collectors. (Gareth Hampshire/CBC)
Price thinks the unique vinyl sound is a key part of its resurgence.

"The crackles and the little pops are character to me. CD's can't replicate that, they're a very tinny digital sound."

Beyond the thrill to the ear that vinyl brings, other collectors love the thrill of the chase. 

"It's not easily and readily available, so I think a bit of it is that there's that hunt involved where you have to search and look for something," said Michael Yakymishen, who also lined up outside the store Thursday, waiting for it to open.

Yakymishen is pleased to see another store bringing more choice to collectors in Edmonton, one that shares his love for the vinyl experience.

"There's just something nice about taking out the record and having to move the needle, and everything you get in there and the sound," he said.

Romaniuk is hoping his location, close to a major intersection and in the middle of several Edmonton neighbourhoods, will work well.

But mostly, he's excited about sharing his passion for music.

"I just enjoy being around collectors, I've been a collector my whole life and I think that's probably what I'm looking forward to most, is the interaction with people that come in," he said.