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Line waiting to buy on Record Store Day restores sense of normalcy

Record Shop Day Saturday started with a line of about 35 people waiting for Rainbow Records in Newark to open.

Record collectors from across the Tristate area braved downpours Saturday to flock to Newark’s Rainbow Records to celebrate the first day of this year’s three-part record store day.

The morning started with a line of about 35 people waiting for the store to open.

After being postponed from its regular date in April, Record Store Day was split into three different days over August, September and October. That let stores cater to smaller crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic, but still allowed stores and artists the sales.

Once the doors opened at Rainbow Records, people moved quickly in and out.

“We’re only letting in six people at a time,” said Rainbow Records owner Todd Brewer. “We’re trying to keep it as safe as we can.”

Most shoppers were in and out quickly, and nobody seemed to leave empty handed. Some had too much for one bag to hold. 

“As someone who is medically high risk, I think the way that Todd is running things is perfect,” said Mike Mitchell. He was there to buy the formally unreleased Wolfgang Ep, who he has been a fan of for 30 years. 

Record Store Day at Rainbow Records in Newark
Mike Mitchell was at Rainbow Records to buy the formally unreleased Wolfgang EP. He’s been a fan of for 30 years.

The lines, the glee of the shoppers and the variety of wares pleased him.

“I think it brings some kind of normalcy, not completely normal but it at least gives us a glimpse of normalcy,” Mitchell said.

Despite their faces being covered with masks, the crowd was visibly excited and antsy. Clouds blotted out the sun and humidity was a reminder that rain was coming as the remnants of Hurricane Laura passed through Delaware. 

“It rained last year. We just sat under the store canopy, “ said Nigel Shumate, who came from Lancaster to buy the Charlie XCX Album. “I don’t really see it being a problem.” 

Getting the records they wanted was top of mind for those in the line.

“What’s some rain in a pandemic?” asked Charles Stanton. “There’s not much to be worried about anymore.”

Record Store Day at Rainbow Records in Newark
Even with Record Store Day split into three parts this year, Rainbow Records’ Todd Brewer said Saturday was the year’s best sales date so far.

At the end of the day, Brewer said he was happy with the small but mighty event.

“This year’s turnout was a bit different because it’s split into three events, ” he said Monday. “There were fewer people because there’s less product. However, its been the best sales day of the year so far, so all things considered I think it went pretty well.”

He’s put the remainder of the Record Store Day titles for sale online.

Jackson Beckner, manager at Extended Play record store in Rehoboth, also was happy with the way Saturday went. His store had offered morning appointments to avoid a crowd in the shop.

“We did pretty well,” he said. “We had a smaller turnout, which was expected, but we filled a lot of appointments, which was great, and a lot of people came in later in the day.

“If you look at the average Eecord Shop Day and cut it into thirds, this third did better than they normally do.”

Record Store Day at Rainbow Records in Newark
Ken Major of Newark has recently started collecting records and says he’ll be back for the next two events.

On Saturday, people standing in line outside Rainbow Records naturally socially distanced themselves, and then were careful inside not to crowd people. An employee at the front door ushered people into the store and opened the door for people exiting. 

Patrons couldn’t agree about whether they like Record Store Day splitting into three parts. Many said it was safer and through the shopping was better.

“I think it’s fun,” Stanton said. “It means I don’t have to spend all my money in one day.”

“I was able to get pretty much everything I wanted this year,” said Andy Wojcik, a RSD veteran shopper. “Normally it’s too crowded.”

Some, though, weren’t happy with the split.

“I feel like the three separated days are weighed kind of badly,” Dylan Butcher. The Newark resident planned to buy Tyler the Creator’s “Cherry Bomb” as well as the Gorrilaz G and D sides. “August has the best day. The other two just aren’t as good.” 

Most, though, will be back.

“I’ve gotten my entire record collection from here,” said Ken Major, a Newark resident who only recently started collecting records. “I’ll definitely be coming for the next two days.”

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