'Vinyl junkie' sells vintage 45s at record shop COLLECTING THE OLDIES

September 26, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

The records are everywhere at the small, cramped street corner shop, a sort of shrine to performers, some of whom haven't been heard on popular radio for 30 years or more.

The walls are covered with posters and original jacketed albums: Fats Waller, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers, Billie Holiday, Johnny Burnette, the Angels. There's even an album Howdy Doody cut with Buffalo Bob Smith hanging on the wall.

"I'm a vinyl junkie," said Margie Coffy, owner of Ferndale Oldies, on Route 648. The shop carries records from the 1920s to the present.

The addiction that eventually would become her business began in the 1960s. She was in her early twenties and was listening to disc jockey Dick Lillard's show from 8 p.m. to midnight Sundays on WMOD-AM.

"He was playing a lot of the '50s. That's all he would play. I'd hear it and say, 'Awwww, I got to have that,' " Mrs. Coffy said.

She started her business 20 years ago and ran it out of her husband's TV repair shop, across from the Ferndale firehouse. She would travel to flea markets, and sell duplicate records from her personal collection.

Her business caught on, she said. Now the bins, filled with thousands of old 45s and albums, overflow.

"Oldies take people back to a time when their era was the '50s, the '60s and the '70s," said Mrs. Coffy, 57, who has been at her present location for 15 years.

People "want to relate to what they had on their jukeboxes when they were hanging out in their places as teens," she said. "Some people are also into collecting them as investments."

The search for oldies has become more difficult over the years. "I think it's because more and more people have started to hold on to them and collect them, and that's drying them up," Mrs. Coffy said.

Most of her customers are 30 to 60 years old. But the use of old songs in commercials and movies has brought teen-agers through her doors. When the movie "Ghost" was out, a group of teens asked her if she had that new song that was out -- "Unchained Melody."

"They about had a heart attack when I told them it wasn't new. It was from the '60s by the Righteous Brothers," she said, grinning.

Even Hollywood, for the movies "Diner" and "Hairspray," has called on Mrs. Coffy. The "Diner" filmmakers used some records from her shop in their film. She received a credit at the end of "Hairspray" for helping its makers select songs for the movie.

Mrs. Coffy said she will keep spinning her vinyl "as long as 45 players last."

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