Black Friday is also Record Store Day, one of two days a year when new albums are released in limited numbers to record stores that participate.
Vinyl hunting is a hobby for many who have dusted off their turntables and rediscovered the joy of listening to an album—complete with scratches and pops—from start to finish.
If you have a vinyl lover on your holiday gift list, Black Friday, or the day after on Small Business Saturday, is a day you’ll want to shop used record stores. Why?
- As the holiday season progresses, the selection of used vinyl will dwindle. Shopping at the end of November rather than a day or two before Hanukkah or Christmas gives you a better chance of finding something on your shopping list.
- Black Friday is also Record Store Day (RSD). One of two days a year when new albums—which might be brand-new recordings, remastered issues of records from long ago usually with a few bonus tracks, or albums that were initially released on CD only and are now on vinyl for the first time—are released in limited numbers to record stores that participate. (The other RSD happens in April.)
- Sometimes, independent record stores will discount the used items in their store on RSD so you may find an extra good deal on an album that’s on your gift list.
These used, independent record stores throughout Pennsylvania are some of the best choices for finding used or new vinyl. For Black Friday hours and to find out if they’re participating in RSD, check each store’s website or Facebook page a day or two before for the most up-to-date information.
(Pro tip: If you visit an RSD-participating store and you’re not looking for one of the day’s new releases, you might want to go later in the day to miss the lines of those scrambling to score a limited edition release. There will still be copies of many of the RSD releases that weren’t the “hot” buys, plus a great selection of used vinyl.)
CD Exchange (Berks County)
Location: Stabon Pond Plaza, 360 E. Wyomissing Ave., Mohnton
The CD Exchange in Mohnton is a store dedicated to music lovers that’s been around since 1987. The owners have witnessed the decline and the resurgence of records and are excited about vinyl’s comeback. They have a selection of new and used albums for sale, plus CDs and DVDs. CD Exchange carries audiophile recordings and audiophile records, a type of record specifically recorded to produce a high quality sound. They also repair and sell audio equipment including record cleaning machines.
Graham’s Records (Erie County)
Location: 613 W 26th St., Erie
Located in Erie, Graham’s Records has a vast selection of old and new vinyl where shoppers always find gems. They do participate in RSD, thoughtfully asking their customers on their Facebook page which titles they’d like ordered. Graham’s does not have a website, but it does have an active Facebook with regular updates about what’s new in the independent store that also carries CDs, cassettes, and DVDs.
InnerGroove Record Store (Beaver County)
Location: 1307 Pennsylvania Ave., Monaca
InnerGroove Record Store welcomes old school record heads and newbies to their store in Monaca and is a community for music lovers of all kinds. It also has the distinction of being the only independently owned record store in Beaver County. Specializing in new and used vinyl, CDs, cassettes, and 8 tracks, they also carry gently used audio equipment.
Long Play Café (Allegheny County)
Location: 5262 Butler St. Pittsburgh
When buying used vinyl, it’s always wise to take the record out and give it a good once-over for scratches and other damage. At Pittsburgh’s Long Play Café, they take the quality of the used albums they sell very seriously. They deep clean the LP on a special machine, clean and repair covers and inner sleeves, and add a protective outer sleeve so when you check the vinyl over, you’re likely to find the physical album in very good condition. They carry a selection of rock, jazz, hip-hop, indie, psychedelic, blues, and soul. The café serves Italian coffee, and if you hit the store at the right time, you just might catch live music.
RecordSmith (Cumberland County)
Location: 16 N. Market St., Mechanicsburg
A leading record store in PA’s capital region, RecordSmith in Mechanicsburg has a wide selection of vinyl with CDs and memorabilia. The store also hosts live events featuring local musicians. Ahead of this Black Friday RSD, the store is currently discounting previous RSD items to make room for what they say on Facebook will be their largest Black Friday selection ever.
Siren Records (Bucks County)
Location: 25 E State St., Doylestown
Siren Records in Doylestown has a huge inventory of used and new records. They carry more than just rock, rap, and pop, too. You’ll find classical, jazz, holiday, kids, and much more in their racks that you can spend hours and hours flipping through. Siren also carries used CDs and DVDs, plus audio equipment. Don’t miss the Rare bins up by the register, where you just may score that original copy of the album you’re looking for in good condition.