Collectors have a passion for vinyl records

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - There’s no television in Chris Vance and Belva Holstein’s East End apartment.

Instead, there’s a Neil Young photo, an American flag with a peace sign instead of stars and a few chairs. Where the TV should be, there’s a turntable and amplifier on a retro entertainment center, flanked by a set of 1970s stereo speakers.

“Every morning it’s a ritual, who makes coffee and who’s putting on the morning record,” Vance said.

The couple met in a record store. For Christmas, they gave each other records. When they invite friends over, they listen to music.

These aren’t out-of-touch baby boomers, aging hippies trying to cling to the past.

Vance, 26, and Holstein, 23, grew up in the age of iPods and MP3s. Vinyl records were declared “dead” long before they were born.

But like many people their age, they have rediscovered something children of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s already knew: There’s no experience in the world like dropping the needle on a black, shiny record.

Vance and Holstein now have more than 1,000 records. It’s an eclectic collection, with everything from Benny Goodman to vintage soul, modern blues-rock and singer-songwriters from the 1990s

“I’m trying to get a collection that, no matter who comes up, I’ve got something,” he said.

When he first moved out on his own, Vance figured he could save money by not getting satellite or cable. He set up a nice stereo system and began buying records to fill the space.

“I thought I’d save money, and it turns out I’ve spent much more money,” he said. “I would rather spend $20 on a record than a CD because I feel like you can get more for your money.”

When Samuel Lowe opened Sullivan’s Records on Washington Street East last spring, he expected to make half his money on CDs and half on records.

Now, vinyl records make up about 90 percent of his business.

Lowe said his store saw a big influx of customers after the holidays, from people who got turntables for Christmas. Many of his customers grew up in the age of digitally downloaded music and are discovering what it’s like to own a physical copy of an album.

“It seems to radicalize them,” he said. “I think it’s rare for them to buy a couple records and stop.”

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