Buy Street Records moves to Pope’s Island in Fairhaven

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FAIRHAVEN – Purchase Street Records is moving to Pope’s Island Road and the old Newsbreak building.

“We pretty much passed my spot,” said record store owner Roger Chouinard. “As a company, after five years, you hope to grow, and we definitely have.”

Purchase Street Records is the fifth store to close in downtown New Bedford this summer, with businesses such as Whaling City Diner and Juice’d Cafe due to issues with their rental contracts.

Chouinard said that with The Vault also closing, he felt it went hand in hand with foot traffic in his store.

“It was either a move or a closure,” Chouinard said. “It’s a bit overwhelming right now. But you always want to get better at making decisions, whatever you do in life.”

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John Sladewski and Roger Chouinard, owner of Purchase Street Records, decide where to store a set of records as they prepare to open their new location at the former Newsbreak store on Pope's Island.

He also said it has become more difficult for customers to navigate the store because of all the merchandise. “This store is loved by a lot of people and would have been disappointed if I closed,” he said, adding that the store would remain as “Purchase Street Records.”

The new space will mirror the look of its old store, but will offer more genres of music as well as audio equipment. “The new place is six times bigger, almost 2,000 square feet,” he said, adding that there was also a huge parking lot.

A renewed interest in buying vinyl records

A January 2022 survey conducted by Vinyl Restart indicates that since 2005 there has been a resurgence in interest in vinyl records with sales increasing by 18.5% per year. In the first half of 2021, 17 million albums were sold, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, an 86% jump from 2020.

Roger Chouinard, owner of Purchase Street Records, has his work cut out for him as he moves to this new location from the former Newsbreak store on Pope's Island.

“It gives this world of a younger generation a way to experience vinyl,” said Chouinard, a former drum tech for Twisted Sister and Over Kill.

Chouinard added that another reason music lovers buy vinyl records is simply because they want to own the music, as opposed to simply having it on a streaming platform.

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RIAA data shows that 18-35 year olds accounted for 45% of vinyl sales in the United States. Those who were teenagers in their 80s and 90s represent the largest demographic for vinyl record purchases since the record resurgence.

However, in mid-2021, there was an increase in sales of current teenagers aged 14-18.

Chouinard said the grand reopening of Purchase Street Records will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with all weekend with new inventory and new merchandise ready. He also said the 94 HJY will be in the store for week two, giving customers a chance to win a key to an all-new Jeep.

“We will continue to have the same love for the store and the name we created,” Chouinard said. “I hope when people visit they smile and then bring home some rock & roll.”

Standard-Times editor Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.

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