Erie St. vinyl record store gains a foothold in downtown Massillon (photos)

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MASSILLON, Ohio – While stuck at home during the pandemic for the past two years, Sam and Thomas Heaton especially enjoyed having their record collections to listen to as a family.

“It was a real source of joy and peace,” Sam said.

This experience – coupled with a long-standing love for records and music – led to Sam’s new record store, Erie St. Vinyl, which opened in October in downtown Massillon. The store is located a few storefronts from Thomas’ long-time downtown Thomas business, Art Bomb Tattoos.

Inside Erie St. Vinyl you’ll find a selection of new music releases with a focus on labels and independent artists. On the right side of the store, discounted used vinyl bins are available for rummaging.

“I want people to understand that it’s not just about going in and finding what you’re looking for,” Sam said. “It’s the shopping experience itself, it’s the space.”

Lots of light fills Erie St. Vinyl, with a record still spinning in the store. (On a recent visit to the store, it was “It’s a Holiday Soul Party” by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.) On the checkout area. A neon sign near the entrance quotes a hit from The Talking Heads: “This must be the place.”

The Heaton family dog, a corgi named Clarissa, watches pedestrians from the store’s glass door.

Clarissa, the family dog ​​of the store owners, watches things near the front door. (Photo by Anne Nickoloff, cleveland.com)

Music is no stranger to the building at 46 Erie Street. The Music Shoppe, a musical instrument store and classroom space, occupied the building until it found a new home in the block. Then the space was sold to the Massillon Main Street Association and applications opened for hopeful local businesses, Sam said.

“My husband and I came up with our mission statement,” Sam said. “With what my husband did with the tattoo parlor, I think it was really important; it’s beautiful in there. And we had a solid business plan with vinyl records.

The record store is linked to the growing vinyl record industry. According to data from the Recording Industry Association of America, 2020 marked the first time since 1986 that vinyl record sales exceeded CD sales. These data also showed that the industry has continued to grow despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.

But Erie St. Vinyl isn’t just linked to the growing scene – it’s linked to Massillon’s story with music. Downtown Massillon has generally been home to an independent music or record store throughout its history, including the Laid Back Records vinyl store, the Elum Music jukebox company, and the Engelhardt Music store.

“I thought we needed one here,” Sam said. “There’s always been something here. It feels good to continue this and be the first woman [record store] owner here.

Interior of record store

(Photo by Anne Nickoloff, cleveland.com)

Since opening in October, Erie St. Vinyl has found its niche and audience, growing its stock to meet the needs of the community.

“Lots of collectors dig through used trash cans, and at noon we get a good batch of high school kids, which I think is great,” Sam said. “I want this to be a space for them to find. ‘gift a $ 20 Nirvana album and build their collections with used $ 3 records. It’s what it’s supposed to be.

Sam said that by continuing to direct Erie St. Vinyl, she will continue to focus on the vinyl format without expanding into other listening formats. Its main objective is to continue to respond to its growing clientele, by offering music that they will find interesting.

“I just want to feed the inventory, which people can expect to find. I want to be a place where people like to shop, ”Sam said.“ I can listen to people really well, so I understand what customers are looking for. It’s learning everything.

Find more information about Erie St. Vinyl on his Facebook page, facebook.com/eriestvinyl.

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