At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, a line of people stretched down Chestnut Street, waiting patiently for Mike Madrigale to open the doors to his record store: Mr. Suit Records.
Mr. Suit Records is one of the shining gems of downtown Lancaster, which has built a reputation as a destination city for record enthusiasts.
“There’s been a couple record stores that have always been here downtown and then there’s a couple that have opened even just since I’ve opened. So now people will drive from Baltimore or Harrisburg or Pittsburgh or wherever and hit them all. Everyone does something a little different so it kind of makes in a destination just for record shopping more or less,” said Madrigale.
The store is filled with vinyl records that span all genres and time periods, as well as unique shirts, posters and flyers for local events and shows.
“According to me, I have the best spot in the world. I have the best landlord [and] literally my best friend has the office upstairs,” said Madrigale. “I wouldn’t trade this spot for anything.”
Madrigale has had a lifetime of experience in and out of record stores, as well as flea markets, pawn shops and estate sales with his parents, who are in the antique business. When the space on Chestnut Street opened up, Madrigale saw an opportunity, and decided to take the chance.
“I always wanted to open a record store,” said Madrigale. “It was right as the whole First Friday thing downtown was really getting going, so I just kind of saw the spot and went for it.”
Stocked with around 10,000 vinyl LPs and 45s, Mr. Suit’s features something for every music lover’s personal taste and budget. Madrigale tried to keep the prices of the records in the store reasonably priced in order to appeal to anyone who may walk in the door.
“If a 14 year old gets his first record player [and] walks in with a dollar he can walk out with two records. I just try to keep things cheap and not pretentious,” said Madrigale.
The “not pretentious” theme can be found throughout the store. Madrigale organizes his stock alphabetically, with separate tables for 45s, new music and the 50 cent bins. This keeps the store consistently organized.
“Anyone who’s coming in to buy records, nine times out of ten they’re buying a little bit of everything,” said Madrigale.
For those who can’t make it into the store, Madrigale runs several social media sites that allow non-local record lovers to get their Mr. Suit fix.
Each day Madrigale updates his Facebook and Instagram, and pulls new arrivals to the side for the lucky individuals who claim them first. The service is relatively new, and is only one way for out of state patrons to ask for record shipments. Madrigale ships records from Mr. Suit’s across the world.
“Every week something goes to Australia… There’s a dude in like in the middle nowheresville Russia who every month buys a box of 40 lps of like classic rock stuff… every month or so,” said Madrigale.
While there’s certainly a high demand for quality, fair-priced vinyl, Madrigale has no plans for expansion.