For over twenty years, Finestkind Vinyl Haven has offered the Brunswick community a more immersive way to listen to music. Located off Maine Street, the store sells ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, classic rock, straight-ahead jazz, funk soul, world music and psych vinyl. It also repairs and sells music equipment.
The store was established in 2000, when owner and founder of Finestkind Electronics, Dave Hunt, bought the neighboring business, McBean’s Music. Hunt briefly continued operating both stores, repairing electronics and selling equipment and vinyls.
“As time went on I figured something had to give in this equation, which ended up being the off-the-street repairs,” Hunt said. “Eventually [the businesses] morphed into Vinyl Haven Records,” Hunt said.
Hunt started off as an ambitious beginner musician; his knowledge of records—what’s valuable, popular and available— has accumulated throughout his time at Finestkind Vinyl Haven.
“I’ve been involved peripherally with music ever since 1964 when I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and I’ve been strumming guitars and stuff like that ever since then,” Hunt said. “But as far as a comprehensive knowledge of records … all of that accrued over time. That was something [where] you kind of just had to ride the horse for a while before you figured out the game.”
Twenty years later, Hunt still believes there’s much more to learn. However, he knows the industry well enough to dispel allegations that vinyl is a dying art.
“The death of vinyl has been prematurely spoken about probably about five or six times since [I joined the industry], and it’s never gone away. There’ve been resurgences and fads happening here and there, but vinyl has been around since Columbia switched from the 78 [Record] in [around] 1947,” Hunt said.
Since the beginnings of the Covid-19 pandemic, Hunt says that record sales have increased and his customer demographic is getting younger. Hunt has his speculations for this paradigm shift.
“During Covid, people were more at home. They discovered their dad’s or their uncle’s rig of record collections and hi-fi equipment, went down to the basement, hooked up the speakers and then had this revelatory experience,” Hunt said.
He further suggests that since Covid, people are now prompted to make their homes their ‘happy place.’ For many people, vinyl is that happy place.
When asked what makes vinyl special, Hunt said that the one word that might encapsulate it is that it’s “atmospheric.”
“There’s something about having a turntable, good vinyl recording, good amp and a set of speakers. You put the needle on and it’s just—the room fills up,” Hunt said.
He argues there will always be an audience for vinyl because of its uniqueness, and because of that, Hunt is confident that Finestkind Vinyl Haven will enhance the experiences of Brunswick music lovers for years to come.