Vinyl Music Blast from Past

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette The new location for The Vinyl Truth is three times as large, creating space for a larger selection and audio equipment. The record shop moved across the street to the former Book World building earlier this month.

HOUGHTON — After a year of vacancy, a former bookstore is housing another medium — this one a format left for dead but experiencing a revival.

After two years in a room in the Lode Theater, The Vinyl Truth has moved across the street to the former Book World location.

The move triples the square footage for the record store, said Chuck Bailey, who co-owns the shop along with Darryl Nicholas of the Nicholas Insurance Agency, also in the Lode. Bailey owns U.P. Financial, another business in the former theater that needs additional office space. An auditorium in the Lode hosts live entertainment.

“Between all those things, we were in a space crunch, which sounds strange with a building that’s 20,000 square feet, but that’s where we were,” Bailey said.

Moving also helps the shop’s visibility, Bailey said. Many people hadn’t known where to find the shop, which was tucked away down a hallway and indicated by a sign on the pavement outside.

“We’ve got a lot more foot traffic now that we’ve got a storefront instead of being buried in the other building,” said employee Jay Crowley.

With more space, the shop is adding sound equipment, both vintage and contemporary used equipment. It will bring it a few different brands, especially turntables and headphones, Bailey said.

They’re also looking at other things to put in the space. Black plastic covers part of the shop, where some minor structural work is being done. The apartments upstairs are being remodeled, and will be available for rent in about a year, Bailey said.

The shop buys used records, but also stocks a substantial amount of new releases, whether reissues or current bands.

“We don’t make a lot on it, but for me it’s important to have,” he said.

It’s been expanding hours unofficially, though they’re still being fine-tuned, Bailey said.

An affiliation with a vinyl store in the Milwaukee area helps keep the shop well-stocked, Bailey said. He makes a trip down once or twice a month to dig in the crates.

“A lot of times you’ll go into a used record store in the U.P. and there’s not a lot of desirable inventory,” he said. “That’s our goal, to make sure we’re keeping an inventory that’s really cool.”