From the bright and colorful interior, customers can just barely look out into the street through the boarded posters at Mr. Suit Records. / Kat Delaney/Snapper
For music fans, trying to find where to get the latest in CDs, vinyls, and respective equipment frequently boggles the mind, especially if you have no idea where to go or where to start. Whether you are a lifelong Lancaster resident or new to the area, there are a wide variety of record stores and music shops in town, all of which strive to provide both new releases and rare classics in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. If you are looking to browse, then the Snapper has you covered! Here are some unique and captivating record stores in Lancaster, as well as some fun facts and information about each of them:
Spiders From Mars
2223 Dutch Gold Drive, Lancaster
It takes a watchful eye to catch the intriguing sign of this niche little shop, but trust us, it sure is a hidden treasure. Decorated from top to bottom in bright, colorful artwork and decorated vinyls, Spiders From Mars creates a vibe that is truly a blast from the past. This Rohrerstown establishment offers just about all of your musical and artist-inspired needs at an affordable price, ranging from pens and pins to magnets, records, clothing, and paintings.
Spiders From Mars is relatively new to Lancaster – founder and owner Jack Walton quit his teaching job in 2018 to pursue his dream of driving the music business. A Shippensburg alum and former Social Studies teacher at Cocalico Middle School, Walton continues to express his passion through his business, while still remaining close with his students; much of the artwork decorating and sold at Spiders From Mars was designed by Walton’s former Cocalico pupils.
“I opened this store with David Bowie and classic rock in mind. This place was built to preserve the great music out there and provide it to folks out there.”
Speaking of classic rock fans, here’s a fun fact about this unique music store – Spiders From Mars takes its name from the David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” album.
Mr. Suit Records
118 W. Chestnut St., Lancaster
Mr. Suit not only captivates your eyes, but also your mind! The windows and doors, decorated from floor to ceiling in pop culture stickers and posters, are eye-popping enough to engage almost anyone walking on the street. Shelves of records complete a music lover’s paradise, and the back of the store offers a wide selection of 50-cent vinyl records – perfect if you are looking to build your collection on a budget.
“It’s especially exciting around here because there are always people buying records, selling records, and there are always people exhilarated to find new music and learn more about what’s out there,” says Michael Madrigale, a longtime employee and manager at Mr. Suit Records, “no matter what you are into, it’s always good fun.”
CI Records & Skates
112 W. Orange St., Lancaster
If you adore rock & roll and grinding rails, then this establishment is perfect for you. A homely little shop, the downtown corner store offers portable record players, vinyls, skateboarding equipment, and stylish stickers. Despite its lowkey and cozy vibe, CI Records is certainly bigger and better than it leads on. In addition to being a music and skate shop, CI also operates locally as a record label and concert promotion company, while also hosting the Launch festival each year to promote local artists.
The store is even managed by a Millersville alum, Dakota Baker. A 2019 graduate of the university, Baker was intrigued in the spontaneous nature of the music industry since he was a student.
“There’s always been something so interesting about working in music,” says Baker, “talking to new people with unique personalities, promoting cool songs, and writing stories through your experiences is what really drives so many people to work at a place like this.”
48 N. Prince St., Lancaster
Located adjacent to Millersville University’s Ware Center, this sight for sore eyes is a convenient stop for students taking classes downtown. The bright teal facade itself provides an enticing view, luring passerby into the magic scenery. Although small and cramped to some, Stan’s packs a powerful punch in terms of variety, affordable pricing, and a cozy atmosphere, despite its tiny structure. The people and the music both give this place character, making it the perfect shopping choice if you are looking for not only a store, but also an experience.
Regardless of where one chooses to purchase music, the undeniable attractiveness of a record store’s aesthetic and character still manages to bring in throngs of curious locals and tourists to this day. Thanks to these establishments, the music and culture of yesterday merges with that of today, allowing a space not bound by time or judgment to thrive. There will always be the hidden gems in the corners of our streets, we just need to know where and how to find them.