Record enthusiasts love for vinyls reignited by opening of Mason record store

Avary Hutzelman | Staff Writer

Philip Fridley, owner of the new record store Hey Suburbia

 After years filling up boxes and collecting dust, vinyls are making a comeback. 

The rise in popularity of vinyls, audio recordings pressed into records, has sparked new interest and hobbies among many students. Sophomore Katie Wilson believes vinyls can be entertaining to anyone, no matter what music they listen to. She finds joy in possessing physical copies of herfavorite music. 

“The main reason I like having vinyls is having a tangible representation of the music that I like to listen to,” Wilson said. “I still listen to Spotify, but it’s different to have something that [I] can hold and have a physical copy [of].” 

Wilson started collecting vinyls after a family member introduced them to her. “There [were] some artists that I liked from the 70s, so she gave me her vinyls and I bought a record player,” Wilson said. The trends from past decades coming back and influencing current trends among teens also has a part in the massive rise in vinyl use. 

“Over the past few years, a lot of things from the past have become more popular,” Wilson said. “Things like vinyls and cassettes are kind of coming back with it. Even though we have access to really high-quality digital recordings, people want to reconnect with a [physical] representation of it.” 

Senior Jason Neill has been collecting vinyl records for five years. He has collected over 100 vinyls and is continuing to grow his collection. Landing a job at Everybody’s Records, a record store in Pleasant Ridge, influenced him to begin collecting vinyls. “It’s physical media [and] being able to know that I have it in my hands [is appealing],” Neill said. “A file can go away, but a record [can’t].” 

Not only do vinyls offer a unique listening experience compared to their digital streaming counterparts, but some vinyls are sold with posters, stickers, or designs on the vinyls themselves to enhance the purchasing experience. “Vinyls can come with extras and you get to see the cover of it and everything. It’s a different experience,” Neill said. 

Neill thinks that having access to purchase vinyls from general grocery stores such as Target or Walmart has allowed more teens to access the revived form of music. Having a store dedicated to selling just vinyls, however, was relatively rare in Mason until recently. 

Downtown Mason is now home to a new record store, Hey Suburbia Records, located right down the street from the high school. Philip Fridley, owner of Hey Suburbia, has been collecting since he was a kid. After working at record shows, Fridley decided to settle down and open up his own store. 

“It’s a perfect location,” Fridley said. “I just thought that this area we’re trying to build up, [this store] is going to build it up even more. I’m excited to be part of the rebuild of an old town.” 

Fridley said he’s “seen a lot of younger people” over the course of the store being open. Students are now able to shop for vinyls locally, making the experience even more personal in the company of other small businesses in the area. Fridley fell in love with the Downtown Mason location immediately after seeing it. 

“One day [I was] picking up some Two Cities pizza,” Fridley said. “[I] saw this place available, [and] knew it would be the perfect location for something like this.” 

With the recent revival of vinyls, Fridley opened up Hey Suburbia at seemingly the perfect time. “They’re doing a lot of cool stuff with vinyls these days,” Fridley said. “As far as different colors and extras that you wouldn’t get just from purchasing it off iTunes, it’s more personal.” 

Despite the immense amount of vinyls he has for sale, Fridley still has plans to decorate, grow his store and possibly branch out. “We still have plenty of room for growth,” Fridley said. “We have a few other ideas, not related to records that we’re working on, not sure exactly what’s going to come of that as of yet but hopefully we’ll have some announcements in the near future.” 

Photos by Avary Hutzleman