One would expect vinyl records to be a thing of the past, especially with streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora gaining popularity.
On the contrary, these treasures are making a comeback, especially over the last 10 years, after nearly disappearing in the early 2000s.
Along with the vinyl resurgence comes the revived interest in the record shop. Whether one is an avid vinyl collector, or is just starting a collection, Cool Beat Music and Books is worth a visit.
Cool Beat, located at 2445 William St. in Cheektowaga, is the perfect neighborhood record shop. A full selection of new and used vinyl records from every genre and every decade fills the store, giving it the retro experience that many didn’t know they were craving.
Wayne Zaganiaczyk, owner and operator, opened Cool Beat in February 2017. After having worked at Record Theatre and Borders, Zaganiaczyk wanted a small, "old-fashioned" music store.
The coziness of his store sets it apart from big box companies and Amazon, and provides a unique way to obtain music.
Zaganiaczyk’s background with music has made him knowledgeable in all genres, driving a one-on-one conversation that will offer new suggestions of artists that are similar to what you already own or are looking for; something you won’t get from online shopping or at larger establishments. He makes a connection with his customers, which adds a personal touch to the shopping experience.
Cool Beat also offers a wide selection of CDs, 33 LPs and 45s, cassettes, music books, equipment such as record players, concert DVDs, and music memorabilia. Posters, T-shirts, and autographed photos of artists are just a few things you will find. Beatlemaniacs will have an easy time purchasing Beatles merchandise, as there is a wide selection available at the store. Of course, the band memorabilia doesn’t stop at the Beatles. New music and collectibles are always circulating in and out of the store. If that certain album isn’t among the collection, it will eventually be on the shelves, or it can be ordered.
Zaganiaczyk gets the vinyl records through trade-ins or he buys them from distributors. Everything in the store is in excellent condition and is of good quality.
One of the most important days for independently owned music stores, and one that Cool Beat will be participating in, is Record Store Day. Begun in the United States, this special shopping day has expanded internationally, and artists from across all genres introduce limited edition releases of their work to be sold in stores. It is an annual event that unites artists, stores and fans throughout the world. Only shops participating in the event can receive the special releases. This is another way for Zaganiaczyk to obtain hard-to-find music that would otherwise be difficult to locate for the average music fan.
During Zaganiaczyk’s first year in business, he welcomed Vin DeRosa, a local musician and songwriter, to perform some of his music. Also invited to the store for a book-signing was Rick Falkowski, author of "History of Buffalo Music and Entertainment." Falkowski is also the founder of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. The personal interaction between artists and fans is what sets Cool Beat apart from other stores.
There is more in store for 2018. Throughout this year, especially during the summer, Zaganiaczyk is tentatively planning outdoor performances featuring local bands. There will be sales on merchandise and a prospected music discussion group. Zaganiaczyk is always in the process of coordinating new events that would be interesting to his customer base.
Feb. 10 is the one-year celebration of Cool Beat. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. there will be giveaways, raffles, grab bags, food, and of course, vinyl to commemorate the anniversary of the of the opening of the store.
Zaganiaczyk has a Facebook page that he frequently updates with new deals and new finds. This is how customers can find out about new promotions, events, LPs, box sets, and fan merchandise.
Cool Beat adds a new "spin" on shopping for your favorite music. Whether it’s the sound quality that attracts you to vinyl, or you are just looking for a bit of nostalgia from times gone by, Cool Beat Music and Books will definitely have you feeling "groovy" for LPs and passionate about your music collection. It’s not just a record store, it’s a musical experience.
Brianna Smith is a senior at John F. Kennedy High School.