WILKES-BARRE — For Jay Notartomaso, the new location of his Musical Energi store is the difference between the A- side and B-side of a record.
He should know. He’s got thousands of the vinyl discs for sale at 59 N. Main St. Soon he’ll pack them up and haul them downtown into 24 S. Main St., the former home of the Gallery of Sound store.
If the signs in the stores’ windows aren’t proof enough, Notartomaso, confirms what’s painted on them.
“We’re moving,” he said Saturday.
Notartomaso, 53, has been at his current spot since 1990 after relocating from the Wyoming Valley Mall where he started in 1986. He’s one of the few retail stores north of Public Square and for all intents and purposes on the fringe of the business district. The move will put him in the mix of other stores on South Main Street and along a busy thoroughfare where there’s both vehicle and foot traffic.
“You can’t ask for a better location,” he said inside the South Main Street space where he’s got a diagram of how he’s going to lay out the larger store.
He’s repainted the record bins left for him by the Gallery of Sound and he’s planning to stack the 12-inch albums on shelves along the walls like books in a library. There’s room for the records he’s got in boxes on the floor at the North Main Street store.
“We outgrew it about 10 years ago,” Notartomaso said.
He’s been looking for a new location and thought about buying a building. But he jumped at the opportunity to lease his new location space when the Gallery of Sound closed last year.
Not much will change in terms of the business. Notartomaso will still buy and sell used records, CDs, tapes, DVDs, video games and musical memorabilia. He’ll continue to sell online, something he’s been doing since 1999. He’ll expand the sale of record players. Inside the new location, the Moody Blues “Caught Live +5” was cued up on a turntable.
Digital downloads are doing to CDs what the compact discs did to vinyl. But there’s still an interest and market, albeit a small one for vinyl. Notartomaso said he has a mix of customers who search through his inventory.
Opening day is scheduled for April 1, so Musical Energi can be settled in for Record Store Day on the 19th of the month.
“We don’t want to miss that day,” Notartomaso said.