Uncle Ed’s Records revives classic medium

CHASE — Fans of the classic vinyl records can find a new haven in Uncle Ed’s Records in Chase Township, where rows upon rows of records from past and current decades are ripe for the picking.

The record store offers a timeless music listening experience with a hometown feel for visitors of all ages.

A lifelong dream of Ed Schultz, opening a record store after retirement was always in the plans. After retiring from Yoplait this year, Schultz was able to take on work for the record store full time.

“I saw that there was a building for sale in Chase a couple of years ago and figured I’d go for it a little before I retired,” Schultz said. “I called the real estate and bought it, started working on it and we’ve been putting it together ever since. After I was able to retire, I took on more work for the store and it’s been full-time ever since.”

The store, at 8488 Center Street in Chase, offers a selection of new and used vinyl records and CDs, as well as services to transfer LPs or CDs to digital or create a library. The store also sells and buys CDs, vinyl records, DVDs, stereos, turntables, tuners, amps, speakers, and other items.

One unique service that the store offers is the service of valuing record collections, and working with local artisans to offer handmade pieces.

In 1948, backed by Columbia Records, the first vinyl record was introduced at the soon-to-be standardized 33 1/3 rpm speed. It used microgroove plastic to extend a 12-inch record’s playtime to 21 minutes on each side. According to Digital Music News, U.S. vinyl record sales enjoyed a 108.2% year-over-year increase during 2021’s first six months.

Schultz said he believes vinyl records have maintained popularity because of their sound quality and timelessness.

“They just sound so darn good when you listen to them,” Schultz said. “If it’s music you like, your attitude just flows with the music. There’s just something about the pureness of it that I’ve enjoyed since I was young.”

“Each medium of listening to music has its place, and it’s tough to say the new stuff isn’t convenient,” he added. “If you really put forth the effort to listen to albums on vinyl and appreciate the whole album itself, it just feels like a purer experience to me.”

As for how the store maintains its records, they utilize a machine that gently combs the grooves of the records to get grit and dust out. Schultz said completely refurbishing a damaged record can be challenging and they focus mainly on maintaining the ones in good shape.

Valuing a record collection can also be a monumental task based on the different versions of albums, and depending on when they’re printed some are more valuable than others.

By far the most expensive record ever sold is the 2015 album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by Wu-Tang Clan, of which there was only one copy ever produced. The record comes with a contract which stipulates that the buyer may not attempt to sell or make money from the record for 100 years, although the owner may release the album for free should they wish to. The album was sold through Paddle8 on Nov. 24, 2015, for $2 million, according to Record Collector 449. Bloomberg Businessweek identified the buyer as hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli.

“There are so many albums that there are so many versions of that it’s difficult to pin down values sometimes,” Schultz said. “There are different values if it’s a reprint or sold recently it’ll be less valuable, but there are others that were printed 50 or more years ago that still sound great and those can be quite valuable depending on the print.”

The store regularly gets new music and records in and often will share some of Schultz’s favorite albums and other featured music on their social media.

Schultz said owning the store has been a passion project, and that he plans to maintain it as long as he can.

“My favorite part about the store is being able to find good new music whether it’s classic or new,” Schultz said. “It never ceases to amaze me how much good music is out there. Some of my personal favorites are Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Tim Buckley, and the Beatles. I really enjoy being able to find new songs and meet new people through the store.”

To learn more about Uncle Ed’s Records, store hours, and to see what new music is coming into the shop, visit their website at www.uncleedsrecords.com.