'People cherish their records.' Merle's Record Rack celebrates 60 years this weekend

Merle's Record Rack first opened in Connecticut back in 1962, when vinyl was king.

News 12 Staff

Sep 2, 2022, 9:36 PM

Updated 690 days ago


A record store in Orange is marking 60 years in business this weekend.
Merle's Record Rack first opened in Connecticut back in 1962, when vinyl was king.
Owner Michael Papa started working at the store as a teenager in 1977.
"I still answer to Merle. My name is Mike, but I still answer to Merle because I been around here so long people assume I'm Merle," said Papa.
Over the decades, The Record Rack has weathered changes that rocked the music industry.
"The transition over from cassette and LP over to compact disc, and then the demise of the compact disc into full streaming digital," he said.
Even with vinyl back making a comeback over the last few years.
"People cherish their records, you know? And they know when there's going to be a little pop or a tick in the record, and it's almost become part of the music," said Papa.
Merle's Record Rack has become a hangout place for people across generations.
"Younger kids, 14, 15, digging through records. The dad is digging through records, and grandpa is in the back talking to me about equipment," said Papa.
They're celebrating 60 years Saturday with sales, promotions and live music.
"We have some bands, local bands coming that start at 10:30 a.m. The Rum Runners are going to be here from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.," he said.
He says after all these years, he still loves the thrill of the hunt.
"You gotta travel, you gotta dig in a lot of nasty basements, to find some jewels. And you can't let some leads go unfollowed because you don't know what you're going to end up finding," Papa said.
Ten percent of Saturday's proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross' efforts in Ukraine.

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