Penn students will soon have to trek as far as 49th Street and Baltimore Avenue to purchase records, CDs, guitar strings and other band equipment.
Located at 40th and Locust streets for the past decade, The Marvelous will move to 4916 Baltimore Ave. starting July 14. In celebration of this relocation, the record store is currently holding a week-long blowout sale ending Saturday with all LPs, CDs and tapes discounted 50 percent.
Manager Bryan Martin is excited for the move. “It’s more of an edgier, upbeat, flavorful neighborhood,” he said. “We’re sort of growing mushrooms down here in the dark — there aren’t many college students this time of year [and] we don’t have any business.”
During the school year, there was not a demand for records among college students either, according to Martin. He said, “students need shoes, students need beer, students need money from the bank, students need Greek Lady. But they can download a record.”
According to Martin, Penn has a more “homogenized crowd” than in Cedar Park because it is comprised of students who usually buy records for sentimental purposes — for instance, if their parents listened to a particular record. On Baltimore Avenue, however, there is a larger community of LGBT residents, young families, musicians and a “thriving West Philly punk scene,” he said. Martin feels “the selection we offer would reflect the diversity of the interest that people have down there.”
He added that “we pay big bucks to be here, but we never know when we’re going to get another customer, especially this time of year. Over there, there’s perpetual foot tracks all day long.”
Business was not the only problem, as The Marvelous also experienced leaks that destroyed thousands of dollars worth of records.
“It’s been a perpetual nightmare,” he said. “From trickles to waterfalls.”
Martin feels that moving to the new Cedar Park location, formerly occupied by Wake Up Yoga, would mend these issues. In addition to free parking in front of the store, the hardwood floors, sunlight, courtyard and yoga space would give better vibes to the store, he explained.
Despite the distance from campus, Martin hopes to see some Penn faces at the store “to give them a feel of what Philly’s really like,” he said. “I feel around here it’s very insulated, very sheltered. That’s what a college campus is supposed to provide, but I feel those kids don’t really step outside their safety zone because everything’s right here.”
Dental School graduate student Du Chung agreed. “Honestly, I’ve never ventured out that far except to go to a bar,” he said. “It seems like a developing area, but I’m not too sure what’s out there.”
Rising College junior Haley Zarrin does not see distance as a problem for the store, but she does not expect Penn students to frequent it anyway.
“I’ve never heard of anyone going inside,” she said. “Maybe some people would go the distance but no one I know.”
Chung had also never heard of the record store despite passing it on the way to the Dental School.
“I don’t think it’ll have any effect on me when it moves,” he said. “I like music and I like the idea of collecting records, but I never got into that personally.”
The venue that will take the place of The Marvelous when it vacates is yet to be determined.
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