The Last Record Store in Rockland

BY VINNY MURPHY

(Photo credit: Sara Gilbert)

The times they a changin’.

Vinyl Lounge, what is purported to be the only record store remaining in Rockland County, will close its doors on December 31, 2012, if not earlier.

When singer/songwriter Matt Pop opened the shop in late June of 2011, the future seemed bright. Nyack, his hometown for many years, was and is known for its investment in the arts. It seemed like the perfect setting for a successful, niche music shop. He was able to secure a pleasant basement space on North Broadway.

While not as large as the ubiquitous corporate run stores of the 90s such as the Tower Records formerly located in Nanuet, Vinyl Lounge’s space has been large enough to showcase local musical acts like Regret The Hour and The Tattle Tales, next to legends like Joey Ramone and Guided By Voices. New and used, rare and common, the store sought to fulfill the needs of any interested party, offering options and the personal touch consumers could never expect to get at Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

The question is, what happened to the plan?

While Pop made it clear that he blames no one for the closing of the shop, he also opened up about many problems he has had over the last year. Though near Main Street in Nyack, the store was never given approval to use an awning with the shop’s name. Limited to window space and a small chalkboard, the shop unfortunately remains somewhat inconspicuous.

According to Pop, his business was not the only one in the area to have this difficulty. He also said that he found advertising rates unaffordable and opined that the town’s parking fines have scared some customers away.

Once the customers found the store, other issues arose. “Economic panic causes a lot of selling, instead of buying,” said Pop. Many of those who sought out the store were more interested in unloading their old records instead of finding new treasure. In further comment on the economy, Pop remarked, “I can’t expect my regulars to come in every week.”

Perhaps the most telling point made by Pop was one on the state of Nyack’s culture itself. He said, “Its not the place it was 15 years ago.” While the nightlife on Main Street is certainly vibrant, the bar scene grows ever more dominated by DJs and cover bands. Pop even tried to remedy this himself, running many shows in the store. “There’s great original talent, and few places to play,” he noted.

Perhaps Nyack isn’t quite as invested in the arts as it once was.

It’s difficult to say why the last record store in Rockland is closing; it may have been the economy, a shift in culture, or a million other things.

Matt Pop intends to keep the store open until the end of the year if possible; he’s assessing it on a month-to-month basis. If you love music, swing by, they’ll be happy to see you.