The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
BY AMANDA FILARDI
Jean jackets, film cameras and flip phones. No, this isn’t the 90s – it’s 2017, and everything your parents loved and painfully tried to navigate is making a comeback. The most prevalent comeback of all being vinyl, and it’s here for good.
Enter Mindbomb Records owner Chris Charkowy, a deeply passionate music fan with a desire to bring people of every generation together via classic best sellers and brand new albums.
“I found out about a self-employment program through Niagara College, so I took that, wrote a business plan and decided to give it a go.”
It’ll be the two-year anniversary of Mindbomb Records this April, and within those two years, Charkowy has noticed that the vinyl revival has only gotten stronger.
“I try to stock all the classics,” Charkowy says. “People are buying Beatles and Zeppelin, all the classics still, which shows that this stuff will never die.”
Fortune.com stated that in 2015, sales of vinyl were up by 32 per cent at $416 million. To put that into perspective, they compared those sales to that of any online free streaming service, which was calculated to be a total of $387 million. Vinyl sales were at levels the industry hadn’t seen since 1988.
Concentrating on new release and re-issued vinyl, Mindbomb Records looks for things that will sell, but also throws a few Charkowy’s own personal touches into the selection. There is never an album stocked that isn’t approved by Charkowy, because there is never a time when the management of the store is left to anyone but himself.
“I haven’t even hired my first employee yet,” says Charkowy. “I’m here six days a week, and I want it to be perfect.”
With no shortage of clients and an ever-growing market for all things old fashioned, Charkowy is looking to gear up for this year’s annual Record Store Day. It’s a day completely dedicated to independent music stores, and, of course, records.
“Ultimately it’s to get people out for the day to support local independent record stores,” Charkowy explains. “They release over 100 exclusive limited releases that are only available on that day. People line up.”
Big box stores are beginning to capitalize on the comeback of vinyl and record players. Stores like HMV and Urban Outfitters are beginning to put out shelves and shelves of new release vinyl that artists are pushing out, but Charkowy says there’s something special about a small business touch.
“You’re not going to get the same experience in a big box store,” says Charkowy. “I think that’s why the independents are gonna be the ones who are still here in the end.”