Records on wheels: Hampstead music lover bringing mobile vinyl store to Wilmington area –

Kevin Siegel is a huge fan of classic rock legends like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and The Who. 

“I also like a lot of new artists,” he said. “I like Phoebe Bridgers and there’s a new album that just came out by a band called Wet Leg that I really like. There are so many groups and artists that I truly enjoy.” 

The Hampstead resident loves music and enjoys listening the classic way — on vinyl. With his new business, Black Wax, he’s lookin forward to meeting other record enthusiasts at events in Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick counties through a mobile shop similar to area food trucks. 

Starting in May, Siegel would like to bring records and music to customers on a 16-foot trailer in the Wilmington area. He’s planning to sell new and used vinyl records, music merchandise and offer an all-vinyl DJ service. 

“There are so many different venues and events that go on, rather it’s in the historic district, or the Brooklyn Arts District,” he said. “Those areas definitely have a lot of people that are very interested in vinyl records. Giving them them the opportunities to find some of those records they’re really looking for is something I would like to offer.”

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During a time when small businesses are going mobile with food, coffee, bars, boutiques and pet grooming, Siegel said it’s the right move to make. 

“In an economy that is in a constant flux and soaring real estate prices, it’s challenging to start a small business with so many high fixed costs,” he said. “So, the idea of a mobile record bar was was born.” 

The veteran served for 13 years before being medically retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and worked in real estate and other jobs, but he always had a interest in music. He’s currently purchasing rare records through social media, online and new records from distributors. 

“It takes a lot of work, it’s not an easy process because there’s a lot of people not ready to part with their album or there’s a lot of sentimental value to them,” Siegel said. “It is a challenge, but it’s a fun and rewarding one as well.” 

So far, he has collected about 8,000 records. 

“I’ll probably carry about 2,000 at a time in the trailer and rotate them out,” Siegel said. “Of course, I’m always buying records so there will always be a constant turnover of albums that I have.”

An ‘old’ spin on hearing music 

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, streaming surpassed both digital downloads and physical products during the 2010s and accounted for more than 80% of the market in the United States. 

Siegel knows the convenience of digital music and not having to deal with carrying around CD players or turntables, but he said it’s missing so much of what artists intended. 

“Vinyl records aren’t compressed digital audio files, you can hear music so much clearer on vinyl,” he said. “Musicians take as much time planning the album and track layout as they do writing the songs themselves. Playing an album in its entirety is as important as listening to your favorite song. Albums tell a story.” 

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He added that record cover art that people like to display.

“There is a physical and emotional connection to playing vinyl records,” Siegel said. “Selecting an album, pulling out the records, placing it on a turntable, and dropping the needle creates an attachment that radio, Spotify, and digital music can’t. When you hold it in your hand, you might remember when you first listened to it or who you were with. It’s almost like magic.” 

As a music lover, Siegel feels that vinyl records make people pay attention to music, while focusing on on the here and now in a busy world. He also feels that music is meant to be social. 

“People once got together to listen to the newest album releases,” he said. “Vinyl music helps bring people together. Vinyl was all but extinct in the late 90s and early 2000s. CDs had all but killed vinyl record sales. Vinyl has been making a recovery and in 2020, surpassed CD sales for the first time in 30 years. It just so happens that people love vinyl records.” 

Reporter Chase Jordan can be reached at [email protected]

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