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Sunday Records, located at 125 Roanoke Ave. in Riverhead, stocks new and used albums. Photography by David Benthal
Although Sunday Records has been going strong since 2017, we suspect this might be your first time hearing about it. It’s doubtful that you’ve ever stumbled upon it, unless you were walking around downtown Riverhead on a Sunday between noon and 6 p.m. — the one time of the week this spot is open.
I was told about the neat little record store by my husband, who had heard about it from his barber, who learned of it from his son. Needless to say, Sunday Records is a word-of-mouth kind of place, and I find myself thankful for my husband’s barber’s son nearly every Sunday as my family and I browse the well-curated, highly organized shop.
The store, at 125 Roanoke Ave., stocks new and used albums sorted by genre: classic rock and metal, mainstream rock and new releases, new wave and alternative, jazz and more — just ask. The chalkboard on the wall helpfully lists the local radio station names and channels where you’d hear these tunes, making the whole experience pretty foolproof and very enjoyable.
Sunday Records owners Brian and Deborah Volkman are the couple behind the music. The shop started as a crazy idea and took a few years to find a space, accumulate inventory, and organize it all. Photography by David BenthalGrowing up Brian Volkman learned about rock by listening to WBAB, then gradually switched to WLIR where he learned about new wave and alternative, and now learns of new music from WEHM. Photography by David BenthalThe decor serves as an aspirational piece. Volkman restored these guitars many years ago. Before opening the record shop, the Volkmans thought about bringing a guitar repair to Riverhead. Photography by David BenthalThe store is built around music that Brian Volkman heard listening to WBAB, WLIR, and WEHM. Of course, the inventory goes beyond that, and includes a jazz section, plus other crates for more esoteric stuff. But, it all fits together. Photography by David BenthalSunday Records is about exploration and discovery. A good record store experience starts with finding a record that you know you want, and then finding something else that you don’t know, but just have to hear. The Volkmans want customers to learn something new and unexpected every time they visit. Photography by David Benthal.Volkman views the inventory as a type of conversation between himself and the customers. And, it often becomes an actual conversation when a customer pulls a few records from the crates and brings them to the counter. It’s so interesting for Volkman to see which records a customer has chosen. And, there are times where he says “No – please don’t buy that record! I don’t know if I can track it down again.” Photography by David Benthal
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Michelina Da Fonte is the associate content director for northforker. She lives in Mattituck.