Name: Rainbow Records
Location: 54 E. Main St., Newark, DE 19711
Location: Grade B: I stumbled across this place a couple of years while walking around Newark, waiting for my wife to check out some local stores. It's actually hidden down a side alley and easy to miss. Street parking along the main drag (25 cents for 12 minutes, so bring quarters).
Staff: Grade B: Three staff members were in the store, but were busy talking to each other and left me alone to poke around. That's fine as far as I'm concerned.
Inventory: Grade C So I'm guessing the store has about 3,000 LPs and a small inventory of CDs. The albums are divided into "old stuff" and newer material (I have to admit I had not heard most of the newer stuff - Divine Destruction doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy. Anyhow, about 60% of the small store is devoted to used books.
Pricing: Grade B-: I'm kind of torn on this one. Their focus is clearly on contemporary acts with many of those releases carry rather expensive prices. I'll readily admit many of those contemporary acts were unknown to me, but I did recognize a couple (High Llamas) and I've seen vinyl pressings for far less. Someone must also have been reading a price guide for 60s and '70s LPs since some of those carried surprisingly high prices - Aesops Fables for $20; Beatles LPs priced at $10 and up, etc. At the same time there were some bargains to be found in the bins, especially when it came to lesser known bands. Good examples - spent $4 for a Brown Dust LP on the collectible Family label and $4 for a Ronnie Hawkins solo LP on ATCO.
Facility: Grade C: The place is small - imagine a one bedroom apartment and you'll have the right size (and that includes both the music and book sections). They've made the most out of their limited space, but it is cluttered and if there are more than a handful of people in the store at any one time, it gets to be a bit claustrophobic. Most of the LPs are in conventional bins so it's easy to get to them. The inventory organization was a bit of a mystery. Anything 50s though early '90s appeared to be in one area without respect to genre. LPs were roughly alphabetical, but you found country, pop, rock, soul, etc. all mixed together which made for some interesting discoveries. They also has some "discounted" LPs under the bins and a small area with new inventory. Somewhat cumbersome, but not a big deal. My biggest complaint though had to do with the volume of the in-store stereo system. They were playing some lame AOR album and while the music wasn't great, it was loud; not just loud, but mind-numbing loud. I might have stayed longer, but I literally started to get a headache and didn't want to look like an old geezer (even though I am), by asking them to turn it down.
Damages: Again, I probably shouldn't document this, but I picked up about 20 LPs. For the most part, I bought a mixture of '60s and '70s pop, rock with a couple of interesting soul titles thrown in the mix. The single most expensive item was a new, six LP boxed set by The Stark Reality "Acting, Thinking, Feeling." I know could have found it cheaper (saw it on Amazon for $20 less), but what the hell - support your local record store. Total cost was $265