Destination Location: Merle’s Record Rack in Orange

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Nothing brings people back to a moment in time quite like a song, so today’s Destination Location, Merle’s Record Rack in Orange, might be one of the most nostalgic places you’ll find in Connecticut.

There aren’t many independent record stores left, but Merle’s stood the test of time through it all and now records are making a bit of a comeback. 

“They’re being heard again,” said owner Mike Papa. “People are enjoying the sound of a fuller, richer cleaner sound of the record.” 

“For me, it’s fun, still,” said Papa, who has been working at Merle’s since he was 15 years old and bought the store in 1984. 

“You can find that really hard to find Elvis Presley album, a Beetles record that you havne’t seen in the last 30 years,” said Papa.

In addition to an impressive collection of records, the store sells turntables, belts and needs for record players and offers in-house servicing.

Papa said Merle’s is more than a record store: it’s a piece of music history.

“It’s a timeline,” he said. “It’s like somebody looking to go back generations and find out where their family came from, this is the history of music. These 78s, these wind-up machines, wire recorders. This is telling you from the very beginning of how things were recorded and how people listened to it.”

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