Off the Record Vinyl & Vintage | Photo: Courtesy
Off the Record Vinyl & Vintage | Photo: Courtesy

A new hidden gem opened in Solvang this May, introducing the analog world of records to a younger generation, and appealing to discerning music fans of all ages. Off the Record Vinyl & Vintage is tucked upstairs in the Jensen’s Copenhagen Square building on Alisal Road, where music lovers can thumb through the new and used vinyl, 45s, cassettes, and CDs. An array of vintage and contemporary equipment caters to discerning audiophiles, while the selection of band tees, Hawaiian shirts, and retro bar accessories ensures it’s not a one note spot — there’s treasure-hunting potential for a broad range of interests and curiosities.

The concept of the shop, which is co-owned and curated by a local father-and-son duo, Mike and Vince Casey, came about during the pandemic when Mike, a prop master in the film industry, began amassing vintage audio equipment. His kids teased him that he had enough to open a shop, and that planted the seed of the idea. It wasn’t until he had more time on his hands during the Hollywood writer’s strike that he had the time to really get down to the business of finding the right space, which had been vacated by a stained-glass workshop. He and Vince did everything themselves, from painting walls and building record racks to buying new records and old record collections until they had enough records in stock to legitimize opening a record store.

For Vince, Mike’s 18-year-old son and a recent graduate of Santa Ynez High School, bringing the shop to life and building it from scratch has been one of the most rewarding experiences so far — beyond getting real-world business management experience. (He juggles his responsibilities with a serving job at a local restaurant and will start college at Mount San Antonio in Los Angeles this August, while continuing to remain hands-on with key aspects of the business.)

Off the Record Vinyl & Vintage | Photo: Courtesy

The aesthetic of the intimate space is well considered and clever. Concert posters, records, and instruments adorn the walls. Vintage chairs and lighting fixtures lend to the vibe that the store has been in place for decades, not just months. A nook by the exterior-facing windows serves as the stage for the live music gigs they aim to host weekly. A longtime music fan, Mike worked at the Tower Records on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in his youth. “I remember the in-store concerts at Tower Records, and I loved them,” he enthused. That’s why it was important to him to offer a stage for Central Coast musicians to share their craft.

The diversity of music between its walls is a credit to the shop’s broad appeal. Customers can expect to find everything from obscure jazz artists and hard rock to contemporary artists such as Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar. While the shop is attracting people from all walks of life and nationalities, Mike is most proud of the fact that local youth are finding their way in, “diving into music they might not be familiar with,” and learning how old technology works. (Cassettes have been an unexpected big seller.) He is delighted to see his son and daughter and their friends lingering after hours to listen to albums. Vince himself has been surprised by how many of his peers patronize the shop, saying, “I never thought a bunch of 20-year-old guys would come in and buy records!”

Follow @offtherecordvinylvintage on Instagram for live music announcements and to see what customers are purchasing.

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