Dropping the Needle One More Time; Independent Record Store in Jersey City

By Garvey Potter, Class of 2014

Dropping The Needle One More Time from Garvey Potter on Vimeo.

If you walk down Brunswick Street in Jersey City, you will notice something that you may think is an artifact, a relic of times past long ago.

“In fact, a lot of people we meet walking down the street in Jersey City say, ‘Records? Do they even make turntables anymore?'” according to Stephen Gritzan, owner and founder of Iris Records.

Iris Records is a Jersey City record store that opened 20 years ago on Brunswick Street, where it still remains. This store, along with hundreds of other independent record stores in country, has noticed an interesting new trend: vinyl records, a music medium that had its golden age in the 1970s, are actually making a strong comeback.

According to the Nielsen SoundScan, vinyl sales rose 32% in 2013.

“Yeah, things have changed,” according to Gritzan. “What’s happened is that our clientele is different now, Jersey City is gentrified so now we have younger people who are starting record collection.”

Stephen Silvestri is part of the younger generations now purchasing vinyl records and an employee of Iris records.

“It’s more like an archeological way of discovering music,” said Silvestri. “Vinyl for me is important because it’s a way of discovering new music. And it’s a tangible way of discovering new music rather than just going online, going on blogs. It’s also very therapeutic, it’s very meditative; you’re in your own element just kind of doing your thing.”

Whether this resurgence of vinyl is a mere trend or a permanent shift in music consumption has yet to be seen, but Silvestri and Iris Records are determined.

“I’m in this for the long haul and I have done this for a long time and there will always be people buying records,” said Silvestri. “The market won’t stay the same, it will probably get oversaturated with too many people selling and then maybe some of those people will go out of business and maybe it won’t be as popular, but right now it is popular as it has been anytime since I have been doing this.


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