From records to CDs and back again: Looney Tunes Record Store celebrates 50 years

WEST BABYLON, New York -- For as long as Karl Groeger can remember, music has been a major part of his life.

He fondly recalls bonding with his father over favorites like a Beatles album, which was easy enough to do, as Groeger has spent most of his life working at his dad's record store, Looney Tunes.

Since 1971, Looney Tunes Record Store has been a staple in the West Babylon community for everyone looking for good music, and the medium of choice these days is a throwback to the store's beginnings as well.

"It's amazing over the 50 years how much has changed. We use to sell records only in the '70s and then no records, and now it's 50 percent of our business again," said Groeger, who took over the store in the 1990s with his brother, Jamie. "We're pretty happy that we've been able to hold onto our family heritage here for 50 years."

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Indeed, what was old is new again at Looney Tunes, which also sells band posters, concert T-shirts, artist biographies, and much more.

It's also a special gathering place, featuring a stage where artists can perform and conduct autograph signings.

"We have a lot of bands that come in, and when their new album drops, they come in and play a couple of songs on our stage," said Groeger, who recently had Dee Snider of Twisted Sister at the store for an event.

"We do a lot of autograph signings and special appearances from bands. We have about 15 to 20 other in-store events for the rest of the year. It's really the backbone of what we do," said Groeger.

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One of the most popular sections of the store is the vinyl listening stations, where customers can spin any of the used records in the store.

"It's really a good feeling to see kids and young people getting back into records," said John Sadowski, the store's record manager. "One of my favorite parts is when they come up, and they're buying classic stuff. When they come in, and they are looking for classic stuff like Dylan and The Who, that gives me a good feeling."

On the weekends, the vinyl listening stations can get so packed that eager listeners have to reserve a spot on the waiting list.

"We love our customers. There are so many people who have been coming here for so long," said Groeger. "They came in with their kids, and now they are coming in with their grandkids. It's wonderful. Everybody loves music, and it's a beautiful art form that we get to share together."

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