5 questions for...Josh Wright, Owner of Vinyl Street Cafe in Fairfield
Updated 1:01 pm, Friday, August 18, 2017
FAIRFIELD — Some tables and chairs sit in the shade outside the Vinyl Street Cafe, music playing in the background.
Inside, owner Josh Wright, 40, sits behind the counter. The walls display photos of musicians and posters advertising concerts at local venues, like the Fairfield Theatre Co. and the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. He apologizes for the crates of albums that rest on a sofa — the Fairfield resident just bought someone’s album collection and is still in the sorting process.
For sale are new and used record albums, sorted by artist, along with some CDs, as well. Two personal listening stations, with turntables and headphones, let customers listen before they buy.
The store, tucked in a small commercial center 1895 Post Road, across the street from Rawley’s, just celebrated its one-year anniversary, with a party that included Grammy-winner Paul Nelson.
Q: What did you do before opening the store?
A: I’ve been building this for roughly three years. Prior to that, I graduated from nursing school, so I’m an RN. And before that, I drove a truck.
Q: What is the appeal of music on vinyl?
A: For me, personally, well, I’m a big Pearl Jam fan. When you’re in the club, they send you an album every Christmas. I just kept them. I didn’t listen to them in the ’90s and 2000s. But about five years ago, I wanted to play so I went out and got a record player, and sat down with a glass of wine, and listened.
It’s a good way to sit and decompress. It sounds better, you can feel the vibrations of the music. What you’re listening to can transport you. You don’t get the same effect from the downloads —you just don’t.
Q: Who are your customers?
A: It’s a pretty wide blend. The kids love it. The majority of my customers are probably high schoolers, like 60 percent. But it’s the rest of my customers where I make my money. The big spenders will be the 40- and 50-year-olds.
You can’t do this on the internet. You might like the cover, and listen to the music, but you never would have been led to it otherwise.
Q: Are more artists releasing albums on vinyl, as well as CDs and downloads?
A: The way it works, the album usually drops CD or download, or both, first, because there’s a line to press, so the record album will come a couple of weeks later. That’s not every artist, sometimes they’ll do them all at once. The way they do records now, they’re usually $20 to $30 for a new record — unless you’re The (Rolling) Stones, and it’s $50.
They use heavier vinyl, it’s more durable, and in all kinds of color. To me, there’s a higher quality. This is a dinosaur business I’m in, but it’s also a growing business.
Q: Do you ever listen to music on digital media?
A: This music playing now is streaming. I listen to vinyl when I’m in a certain mood. I take advantage of all the different medias.