'Pop culture, curated’
A new business is brightening up downtown Medford with the tunes and toys of yesteryear — but you’ll only catch The RetroWormhole two days a week.
The record and novelty shop at 30 N. Central Ave. is open Fridays and Saturdays. Those are the only days that owner Nick DeAngelis has free to devote to his passion project that had its “slight opening” on April 16.
The rest of the week, DeAngelis is the licensed general contractor behind Rogue Properties, LLC, but on Fridays and Saturdays he gets to sport his “Mandalorian” cap and “Fight Club” T-shirt, and celebrate his fondness for everything from glam rock to “Ghostbusters.”
“I just like all things retro,” DeAngelis said. “Our tagline is, ’Pop culture, curated.’”
For movie buffs, the shop features original theatrical release posters for 1980s action flicks that include “Predator” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
The new, used and never-opened vintage toys in his shop run the gamut from “My Little Pony” to “The Matrix.” There’s plenty for Star Wars and superhero fans to play with, but so far his best seller is his collection of Funko Pop! collectible figures.
The shop buys, sells and trades the whimsical licensed pop culture collectible figures, DeAngelis said, so they stock more than what’s new from Funko’s factory.
“I get a lot that you can’t get anymore,” DeAngelis said.
The heart of the store, however, is the racks and racks of vinyl that includes vintage pressings of The Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” Kiss’ “Hotter than Hell,” plus '90s era vinyl albums from the likes of Lauryn Hill and Pearl Jam.
“I’m big into soundtracks,” DeAngelis said.
Among the most expensive records in the store is a rare edition of Taylor Swift’s 2017 album “Reputation” pressed in translucent orange. The double LP displayed on the wall is priced at $997.
Most of his records are a mix of thrift store finds blended with a couple vinyl collections he’s purchased whole, and DeAngelis said he’s hoping to bring in new stock records from the ’90s to the present day because he sees how they resonate with customers.
His original plan for the business was to sell his records online, but as a regular customer of neighboring Rogue City Comics, he learned that the space — previously home to a knitting supply store and most recently a phlebotomy school — was coming up for lease.
DeAngelis said he wasn’t sure if people would want to shop in a brick and mortar store in a pandemic, but he took the plunge. He started using his days off as a general contractor to make the space his own, inventory and inspect the record collection, and build his website.
“I’ve been on six or seven days a week since the beginning of the year,” DeAngelis said, adding that his business is still a work in progress.
Even once his vinyl is all sorted and priced, and his backroom stock is sorted, the next step before he can expand his hours is staffing. As it is, DeAngelis is booked with construction projects well into July.
But because his shop is so new, he’s listening to customers and working to adapt. For instance, he's inspired to start stocking turntables after a customer tried to buy the one he had in the shop.
He’s aiming to stock quality record players — describing plans for a “solid line” that’ll start around $200 for the entire system — but he wants to eschew the snobbery that can intimidate newcomers to vinyl.
“We want to be an inclusive spot,” DeAngelis said.