SCHENECTADY — Seth Nichols and Keri Kassing packed their life into a pair of moving trucks two years ago and headed east, leaving behind their old lives in Denver, Colorado for new beginnings in the Capital Region.
Waiting for the couple was a home in Guilderland and an empty 1,200-square-foot storefront near the I-890 interchange on Erie Boulevard that they had only seen through a series of video calls before agreeing to sign a lease.
The space had previously been a yoga studio, but after touring the property virtually, Nichols determined it was the ideal place to open a record store. He began moving his expansive vinyl collection into the shop the same day the couple moved into their home in October 2021.
“We locked in this place without ever actually walking into it,” he said. “It was all remotely done within a month, which is crazy.”
Love Vinyl Records has origins dating back to 2001, when Nichols, 43, began selling records on eBay with a lifelong friend while attending college in Ohio. After early success, the friends opened Evolving Records, a retail outlet located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The business took off, and Nichols, who was studying economics and computer science at the time, dropped out of school to focus on slinging records full-time.
After seven years, the shop closed and the business shifted online. Nichols eventually moved to Colorado, where he met Kassing, 46, and continued his online retail business before he started selling records out of a small boutique, where he continues to stock around 3,000 records today.
But the bulk of Nichols’s inventory can be found at his shop at 140 Erie Blvd, which boasts an impressive selection of between 15,000 and 17,000 new and preowned records from just about every genre, including rock, country, jazz and reggae.
“We pretty much cover everything,” he said.
The couple is still finalizing decor for the shop, which only just opened following two years of work that was completed in between processing the more than 900 online orders the business receives each month.
“We had to squeeze in any building hours,” said Kassing, whose musical tastes span from electronic to Mozart.
On a recent afternoon, everything from 45s to high-quality box sets were spotted on the handmade racks that allow customers to easily flip through the expansive inventory. Albums from artists like Green Day and Less Than Jake were also on display, as were colorful picture disks and harder-to-find items that were stored away in glass cases.
A small seating area is located in the front of the store, and a pair of listening stations are also available so customers can sample used records before buying. Nichols is also hoping to create a section for local artists in the future.
The shop has already managed to attract a few regulars, including the store’s mail carrier, who recently purchased a record player, according to the couple.
Nichols fell in love with records as a child listening to his father’s Pink Floyd albums. His taste evolved over the years to include dance and pop artists like Madonna. He eventually discovered electronic and techno while attending parties in college, and began DJing, which cemented his love for vinyl.
Today, he has around 4,000 records in his personal collection, which is constantly evolving as he sells off items to make room for new additions.
Nichols is not alone in his love for vinyl records, which have experienced a renaissance in recent years.
More than 41 million records were sold last year, according to a recent report released by the Recording Industry Association of American, a trade organization representing the music recording industry.
Vinyl sales outpaced those of CDs for the first time since 1987, and grew to $1.7 billion, marking the 16th consecutive year of growth, according to the report.
The growth isn’t all that surprising, even in the age of digital streaming, Nichols said.
Records are tangible, and give people a change to interact with the music they are listening to as opposed to simply hitting play. It also gives people a chance to hold a physical piece of artwork, which often gets overlooked in the age of streaming, Nichols said.
Plus, the sound quality is better.
“It’s an age old argument about the sound quality of vinyl,” Nichols said. “I really do believe it sounds better.”
To learn more about Love Vinyl Records, visit the store online at: lovevinylrecords.com or Facebook.com/LoveVinylRecords.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.
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Categories: Business, Schenectady, Schenectady County