Downtown Bangor has plenty of coffee shops, tattoo studios and craft beer, and now, it’s got another new business to add to its growing hip factor: the Vinyl Canteen, a record store and cafe that opened last weekend on Central Street.
Owner Christopher Tierney has spent the past two years renovating the building at 22 Central St., and though the sign for the Vinyl Canteen went up last June, the finishing touches weren’t ready until just this past month. Tierney, a New York native who splits his time between Long Island and Bangor, wanted to officially open by March 1 in order to celebrate his 60th birthday, which is this week.
“It’s a special birthday and a special thing for me, so this is really the best birthday present I could have,” said Tierney, who made his career teaching electronics in public and vocational schools on Long Island before retiring last year.
The Vinyl Canteen is equal parts record store, audio equipment shop and cafe, though it’s the vinyl that will likely get people through the door. As Rolling Stone reported last fall, vinyl records were in 2019 poised to exceed CDs in sales for the first time since 1986 — and Tierney, a self-admitted audiophile, knew a record store in downtown Bangor made sense for him for a fun retirement business venture.
Though Tierney’s personal favorites are classic jazz and 1970s progressive and classic rock, the selection at the Vinyl Canteen encompasses a wide array of genres, including an extensive collection of classic country, hip hop singles and r&b. When he’s not in Maine, Tierney is either at his other home in New York, or he’s traveling around the Northeast, buying record collections from individuals looking to unload hundreds or thousands of records.
Tierney also sells an array of new and vintage stereo equipment, including turntables, receivers and speakers, and has a workbench set up in the back of the shop to do repairs and refurbishments on items that customers bring in.
Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.
More by Emily Burnham