June 25, 2018
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Dr. Records moving from basement of Orono building to Bangor location

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

ORONO, Maine — Don Menninghaus is feeling a little run down these days as he moves tens of thousands of vinyl albums from Orono, the base of his record business for 30 years, to Bangor.

Menninghaus, 61, is relocating Dr. Records from its basement home underneath Verve in Orono to 621 Hammond St, across from Papa Gambino s.

He estimates he has to move more than 50,000 records in boxes holding 100 records each.

“It’s hard to judge, but it’s been box after box after box,” he said Friday.

“I’m shooting to have some hours in Bangor starting the Monday after Valentine’s Day,” he said.

Menninghaus started Dr. Records in the basement of the Orono building at 2 Mill St. in 1984. The iconic, beat-up red door facing Main Street welcomed countless music fans during the past three decades.

Five years ago, Abe and Heather Furth, owners of Orono’s Woodman’s Bar and Grill, bought the building at the intersection of Main and Mill streets to build Verve.

Abe Furth said Friday that he told Menninghaus in December that the Furths had other business plans for that part of the building.

Menninghaus said he started packing soon after.

The Furths are working with Mark Horton, their partner at Woodman’s, to iron out a plan for the future of the lower floor of 2 Mill St., and they should have that worked out within about six months, according to Abe Furth. Along with Verve, the building also houses a two-story apartment in the rear.

First, the part of the historic building vacated by Dr. Records will need extensive renovations, which should start sometime in March after the space is empty, according to Furth. He said it would be a “pretty substantial small project,” with a full demolition and rebuilding of the lower level of the building.

Furth said the couple plan to use the lower floor for their own business pursuit rather than leasing it out to someone else.

Menninghaus said the move occurred on good terms, and he was “optimistic” about the new arrangement in his larger Bangor location.

“The new space is bigger, and it’s got some things going for it,” Menninghaus said. “It’s newer, has better parking, [and] I can fit more stuff.

“Sometimes, it’s easy to become complacent, and you need a kick in the rear to get going,” he said.

The record business hasn’t always been easy, but it has seen a surprising resurgence in recent years, according to Menninghaus.

He says a mix of nostalgia, sound quality and album artwork are causing some people to, after a long hiatus, favor vinyl over CDs or digital music formats.

“The record business is trendy right now, you might say,” he said. “It’s kind of funny to see myself at the age of 61, being kind of trendy again.”

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