Vinyl Alchemy elevates the full musical experience

A new record shop has opened in Grand Rapids’ Eastown neighborhood. Located at 1505 Wealthy St. SE, Vinyl Alchemy purveys vinyl, CDs, and art and pop culture collectibles.  Rapid Growth recently chatted with Vinyl Alchemy’s owner, Kevin Romanyk, about his new music store.

Rapid Growth: Why vinyl?

Kevin Romanyk: Why vinyl? Why not? What is it that draws us to it? Ultimately, it comes down to you're creating an experience. There's something to the ritual. The anticipation of putting on that album, the planning that's involved, and sitting down and enjoying that quality time whether you're alone or with a loved one. You want to enrich the experience as much as possible — because we work hard all week. When we have a moment to ourselves or with loved ones, we want it to be the full experience.

That's what vinyl allows us to do. We put it on. We can enjoy the artwork [on the album cover] and actually enjoy the music experience the way the artist intended. In a world that is very unreal at times, especially in the last three years, it's a more real experience. 

That's why people are drawn back to it, and it's gaining popularity again, because it does elevate the experience. In some respects, it's very similar to these cocktails that come out of a can. They’re good in a pinch, right? But when you want to sit down and enjoy some quality time, do you want to pour a cocktail out of the can, or do you want to enjoy a handcrafted cocktail at the hand of a trained professional that really knows their mixology?

That's what vinyl gives you again. You have the tactile. You're touching it. You're flipping it. You're looking at the visual artwork. And then, the auditory experience of listening to the order of the songs that the artist put on the record. That all comes together very, very well with vinyl.

Courtesy Vinyl Alchemy
Courtesy Vinyl Alchemy

RG: Why did you choose Eastown?

KR: When I have time to go somewhere, I want to go someplace with some character, that feel, that's going to give me a full experience. I always felt like Eastown was a great destination for that. I'd like to think that other folks feel the same way. When you're looking for a fun restaurant, a little bar, or some other experience to have, Eastown really checks so many of the boxes that make for a great experience. It's walkable. It has a great selection of different things to do. So really, it just felt like the right spot and a good fit for the community.

Courtesy Vinyl Alchemy

RG: Why now?

KR: I was open to making a change, to trying a new adventure, to doing something new with my interest in music, whether that was now, in two years or five years. This just happened to intersect with the opportunity that was the space next to Yesterdog in Eastown. I was presented with the opportunity [and] I thought, “Well, this may not come up again.” Opportunity knocked and I opened the door.
Courtesy Vinyl Alchemy
Courtesy Vinyl Alchemy
RG: What music genres do you carry?

KR: The largest, of course, is the pop-rock genre. I'm also trying my best to listen to the community, ask what is it that they're interested in, and make sure that what I carry is going to reflect what the neighborhood wants to listen to, as well as the customers that come in on a regular basis. So, I want to have a good selection of all or most genres at least. Eastown, being a huge supporter of the arts, I'm definitely trying to work towards having a good representation of local music and independent artists.

Romanyk makes an effort to showcase artists who are in town for concerts. Check the Vinyl Alchemy Facebook for special artist releases, collection releases and in-store events. 

Written by Estelle Slootmaker, Development News Editor
Photos courtesy Vinyl Alchemy 

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