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Mill No. 5 showcases a new “Destination” in downtown Lowell

The sign for Vinyl Destination welcomes patrons in Mill No. 5 (Jason Ounpraseuth/Connector)

Jason Ounpraseuth
Connector Editor

“It’s all vinyl, and that’s final.” That’s the primary thing to know when walking into Vinyl Destination, a shop run on the fourth floor of Mill No. 5. Dave Perry and his son Dan started this shop in November 2013. Their love for vinyl, however, has spanned for many decades and continues today.

Dave Perry, a former Lowell Sun writer and now senior writer for University Relations and a Grammy nominee for Best Album Notes in 1991 for “The Jack Kerouac Collection, bought his first vinyl record at the age of 10, over 50 years, ago.

“I was at a flea market with my dad, and I found a big stack of records that was on the ground,” said Perry. “I could see the Rolling Stones, and I could see The Beatles. There was like 20 records for 10 bucks, so I took them home, and there were all kinds of stuff in there. It just kinda felt like its own world,” said Perry.

Advertising for Vinyl Destination is solely done on Facebook like many other businesses at Mill No. 5.

“People find the places up here, you don’t sell it [the businesses] to them. They just stumble on it,” said Perry.

The name of the shop came through a Facebook contest that Perry ran. Some ideas were pitched but nothing really stood for Perry, until an old friend came along and gave him a eureka moment. Lowell Sun editor Dan Phelps worked together with Perry, and Perry praises Phelps with coming up with great names on the spot, and he did just that by pitching “Vinyl Destination”. It was the perfect name for Perry.

The atmosphere of Vinyl Records is that of dynamic, friendly shop where the majority of the records are pre-owned as Perry prefers to buy collections from people and resells them.

“This is like my happy place, literally. I’ve been sick, and I come in here and not feel sick when I come in here, and I go home, and I’m sick [again]. It’s really weird, and I just want it to be like that for people who just look through stuff. You can come in here anytime and just look. You don’t have to buy anything. It’s just a fun place,” said Perry.

Vinyl Destination is great as it is currently for Perry. However, he does have ambitions for the shop specifically expansion.

“Believe or not, I would love to expand more like take up more of this place [fourth floor of Mill No. 5].  It’s kind of a dream. It’s not gonna happen, but it would be fun to have bigger space and fill it with more records,” said Perry.

A record that Perry may want to include in that expansion if it were to happen would be a bootleg 12-album set called “Ten of Swords” by Bob Dylan. It came out before the bootleg album that Dylan did and has an estimated value of $1000. Records that Perry can get the most out of and can never get sick of are “The White Album” by The Beatles and “Murmur” by R.E.M. Other records that he adores are “A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane, “There’s a Riot Goin’ On” by Sly & The Family Stone and The Barbarians’ title album.

Perry has seen many people come and go. However, Perry gives a piece of advice to those people who are looking to start their own vinyl collections.

“Try to find original copies of things [vinyl records]. They tend to hold up better, and they hold their value better. Re-issues are great, but they tend to not be the same quality as originals. Every now and then, look at the cover art of something. If it catches your eye, go ahead and buy it just to get that experience because it can always do great things for you. Buy on a whim sometimes because the cover art looks cool,” said Perry.