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New grooves in Waupaca

Back to the Vinyl is owned and operated by Marty and Jennifer Milner. It is located across from the Danes Hall and they have a wide variety of music in stock, mostly in the form of vinyl records but also cassettes and CDs. James Card Photo

Music shop sells vinyl

By James Card

One of Marty Milner’s favorite movies while growing up was “Back to the Future.”

His high school friends called him McFly. His dream was to someday own a DeLorean. He never got one but he did follow through on another dream: to own a record shop. He named it Back to the Vinyl.

He and his wife Jennifer run the shop on 102 Water St., across from Danes Hall. They opened two weeks ago.

“Owning a music store was one of those dreams I thought I’d never actually get. We would walk our dog around downtown and look at spaces for rent. It was always a running joke: that would be a cool place for a record store,” he said.

When the Water Street location came up, Jennifer asked, “If not now, when?”

Milner’s inventory of vinyl records covers all musical genres. He sells both used and new records. He purchases records and is happy to look at collections and make an offer.

“What’s nice about me being an independent store is that my distributor has indie releases for vinyl. They have extra songs or different covers. You can only get these as a small business,” said Milner.

Making a comeback

“I feel that people like having the albums again. I think with digital music people can use it walking around but people are getting into, ‘I have this album and you’ve got to check it out.’ With the new vinyls especially, they are making them better and thicker and the sound is a much better quality. They are doing some at half-speed when they record it so that it plays better. The quality has gone from the 1980s when they were flimsy and were just garbage and didn’t last worth a darn, versus now where they are more collectible, too, with the coloring and extra songs and features. People like having that again,” said Milner.

He is a dealer for Audio-Technica turntables and has a few basic models in stock. He can order other models at customer request. Milner has cleaners and care products for audio equipment in stock.

Also in the store is an ultra sonic cleaner, a contraption where eight records can be submerged in vibrating warm water and dirt and dust are released from the grooves. It brings old records back to life and it is a service he provides. It takes 30 minutes.

Cassette tapes are also part of the mix and he is also getting CDs in stock. Record prices range from $5 to $200 for rare and unusual editions. He has limited editions and double albums. Decorating the shop are music posters for sale and some are made by independent artists.

Currently he is running a 200-ticket raffle for boxed sets of Cat Stevens and Soundgarden. The winner gets to pick one.

“I had three sophomores in here. They were totally into it. They were stoked about it and they were glad I was here. There are not a lot of independent stores anymore and you can’t get all the niche stuff. I’m trying to carry more of that kind of thing,” said Milner.

Back to the Vinyl is open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Their Facebook page is Back to the Vinyl Waupaca.

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