Vinyl is Everywhere, even in Port Townsend!

How do you know that the vinyl revival is universal? When Port Townsend, WA, a little arts community with under 9500 inhabitants that is situated NW of Seattle, on the Quimper Peninsula at the gateway to the larger, breathtakingly beautiful Olympic Peninsula, is having a record show of its own.

You heard right. The Port Townsend Record Show is taking place Saturday, March 5, 11:00am–5:00pm (vendor set-up 8:00 am) in the ever-jumpin' American Legion Hall at 209 Monroe Street facing Port Townsend Bay. The show promises, as of press time, at least 28 vendor booths filled with vinyl and accessories for sale. There is no admission charge, and everything from LPs, 45s, 78s, CDs, and tapes to vintage rock posters, memorabilia, and LP furniture will be for sale.

Four local DJs will spin vinyl in the background all day long, a Spanish couple will sell paiella, and there will for certain be a raffle of inner and outer sleeves and record cleaner from Bags Unlimited. Those needing a little breather between immersions will discover, right outside breathtaking views of Port Townsend Bay, which is sometimes populated by wooden boats built and repaired in the town's famed wooden boat school. They'll also find streets lined with quaint shops that include Pippa's Tea Shop, run by a delightful Australian émigré who used to live at 1 Christopher Street in New York's Greenwich Village, and, in nearby historic Uptown, Salon DeLucca, where my better half works.

The brainchild of Mark Hering, 56 (above), owner of Quimper Sound and Jim Overly, 50, designer of handmade LP Browsers, the show promises to attract people from all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Hering alone will be mining his three-car garage full of about 55,000 records he bought from a guy about six years ago, and promises some great '60s and '70s rock as well as classical and soundtracks.

"The biggest thing I want to get across is that we're doing this for fun," Hering explained during a caffeine-fueled morning chat in Quimper Sound. "It's a great community event in a great community. The record buying public here is also great. So it's a win-win. Once thank yous are distributed to the DJs and helpers, any remaining profits will go to a homeless shelter that is run in the basement of the legion hall. That way, we keep the money in the community."

Overly came up with the idea for the record show in the fall of 2015, after the veteran record show attendee brought Hering to his first record show in Seattle. Overly had previously displayed his LP Browsers record shows on the East Coast, and found much interest amongst people who like to browse through their collections with the album art facing forward.

"I've always been a record collector," Overly assured me. "Even when I switched to CDs for convenience, I kept my records."

Once Overly got to 1000 LPs, he looked for a piece of furniture to put them in. Not satisfied with what he found, he built his own custom cabinet. So far, he has sold 50 LP Browsers, each of which is signed and numbered.

"Together with musician Todd Fisher, we decided, just for the fun of it, to rent a hall inexpensively, do a little advertising via social media, and see if we could put on the first record show on the Olympic Peninsula," he said. "We just want to cover our expenses. I was thinking, 'If I make any from it, it'll all go right back into buying records anyway.'"

"This thing has just been taking off," Hering continued. "We didn't contact anybody, but the Peninsula Daily News did a front page article, the Port Townsend Leader did another story, and we even did an interview with a radio station in Bellingham. And you're writing one for Stereophile because you met my daughter, Rachel, while walking your dogs. It's been so much fun."

Part of the fun, it seems, will take place even before the doors open to the public. Between 8 and 11, Hering expects vendors to have a field day buying and trading records (including 45s and 78s), posters, and even CDs and tapes. With a 30 ft. table going for a whole $30, and an 8 ft. one for $40, I can even imagine a few collectors booking tables so they can get first dibs on choice items. To do so, contact or call (360) 774-2171.

Hering is the latest owner of Quimper Sound, a store that has been in business since February 1, 1974. Initially an all-vinyl establishment, the store's inventory has cycled through 8-track tapes, cassettes, and CDs, but has now returned primarily to vinyl.

"When we bought the business 9 years ago, it was still almost all CDs," he reported. "The store was located in an old bank, and its vinyl was hidden in a little back room Vinyl Vault. As more people starting asking about records, and we began seeing more records released, we began switching our inventory. Moving to our present underground location at the end of 2013 gave us the opportunity to reinvent Quimper Sound as mainly vinyl."

Quimper Sound still stocks and special orders CDs, but its main business is in vinyl. There are similar stores in Seattle, but Hering reports that some people travel up to 2.5 hours by car and ferry from that fast-growing metropolitan center to sell him records because they say he pays better.

In fact, a large part of the store's clientele comes from a 100-mile radius rather than Port Townsend proper. Pointing to bins that house everything from expensive, audiophile pressings of<—you guessed it—Ella and Louis to others with early Barbra Streisand—Hering said that he spends a lot of time researching prices, and makes sure the records are in good shape.

"If there's a scratch on my record I either put it in the $1 bin or don't put it out," he assured me of a collection that is pre-cleaned with a VPI 16.5 when deemed necessary.

"My customers tell me that they're getting back into vinyl because of the sound. Younger people are getting into it because it's cool, and the artwork is collectible. But you see vinyl more and more in movies and on TV. I'm amazed at how many movies show a DJ putting on a record or a living room with a record player."

The view from the Port Townsend “Overlook”

Luke Zitterkopf's picture

Thanks for the article Mr. Serinus. Went to the local public radio record sale last week in Spokane, WA. It was so well attended there was not nearly enough parking. Hundreds of people showed up for the opening and hundreds more throughout the weekend. I saw everyone from teenagers to retirees. It was so great to see and was proof enough for me that people care about sound quality. See you at the Music Matters event on March 3rd.

Tweeterdome's picture

I miss that place in Port Townsend. Home of the arf arf, half Rainier beer and half Guinness. The circa 1960s loudspeakers hung from Macramé work attached from the high ceilings, (and competed with the spider plants for room) the stereo receiver was never a brand that I could distinguish having owned a Marantz 2325 at the time.

A place where time stood still, somewhere in the early seventies...

I just may have to go to this gig..

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

It turns out the show had 32 vendors - the space was maxed out - with a 33rd turned away for lack of space. I showed up real late - I w as fried after three two-hour trips from, to, and back from Seattle the day before - and people were still arriving after 4:30 pm. It seems there was a line way down the block when the doors opened at 11 AM. People certainly came from Seattle - one vendor sold a $120 rarity to a Seattle woman - and vendors from everywhere. The few vendors I spoke to said that most of the items they sold were in the $5-$20 bracket. Some, I think, wished they could have done better. But from all accounts, the attendees had a ball.

anomaly7's picture

Thanks for the right up on your local record show. And might this revival mean that even Mr Serinus will some day get back to playing music on a turntable?