NeedleDrop Records brings vinyl to South Wedge

05:00 AM, Feb 10, 2013

Russ Torregiano, 29, of Rochester is co-owner of NeedleDrop Records on Gregory Street in the South Wedge. (Todd Clausen)/

Written By Jinelle Shengulette

While preparing to open up shop in fall 2011, NeedleDrop Records co-owner Russ Torregiano had a difficult time finding enough used records to fill his space.

Without owning a storefront, it is hard to get people to sell you (their) records. I had to use a lot of connections I had with other collectors and buy up large chunks of records,” said Torregiano, 29.

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He put the word out on Facebook and message boards online, letting the public know he was opening a record store in the South Wedge and looking for used product. The storeowner also purchased many used records from his own contacts and from the referrals of friends.

Torregiano also used his networking skills when it came time to work on the interior of the shop as well, calling on a friend who specializes in woodworking.

We built everything in the store ourselves, all the fixtures, counters, lighting, record bins, display cases and lots more,” he said. “We could not have done this without … Greg Combs and Grain/Structure (and) their amazing skills. Without them, it would not have been possible to … create such a unique storefront.”

Today, NeedleDrop Records is filled with new and used records, DVDs, shirts, turntables, powered speakers, headphones, amplifiers, pins, magazines, cassettes and more. The store specializes in hard-to-find punk, hardcore, rock, metal, indie, noise and jazz. A surprising best-seller has been new turntables.

Being a record collector, I have always dreamt about opening up my own shop,” said the East End resident. “For me personally, owning a physical album is a lot nicer than ‘owning’ a download of a song. You have large format artwork to look at, lyrics to read, sometimes booklets and posters.”

Torregiano came from a background in food service and retail, where he learned to build relationships and make conversation with customers from all walks of life. That skill, he said, has served him well in his current business, since he’s found word of mouth to be very helpful in drawing new customers.

I try to make friends with everyone that I can,” he says. “You never know when you can help someone out or if they can help you. Artists, web developers, graphic designers, musicians, other record stores, customers, etc. — these are all people I try to have in my life.”

Networking helps out everyone. Staying social and learning what people are good at can benefit everyone. … You are able to use your contacts to help yourself or others out.”