Leaving the Mahoning Valley Mall in Lehighton last summer for downtown Jim Thorpe, SoundCheck Records owner Trooper Pompa was taking a risk. “I had been there since 1980,” he says.”But it’s steadily coming together here,” he observes of his relocation.
In 1980 Pompa was a die caster at Blue Ridge Pressure Castings in Palmerton, out on strike. Short of cash, he knew the then-owners of the record store and asked them if they needed some help. The union settled after 3 months, but Pompa never left the record store – he had found home.
“Obviously, the record business has changed a lot since I started out. CD’s are still the basis of the business now, but ironically vinyl is really gaining ground,” he notes surveying the ten or so people in the store browsing the records, CD’s, gifts and other music-related paraphernalia. The place was definitely looking busy.
What’s been selling these days? “Kid Rock was selling well, and lately The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Kenny Chesney,” he notes. “Also, real Beatles records sell better than digital. There’s a real taste for vinyl and the sound. For example, I had a green vinyl Jim Hendrix Christmas single – we blew through about 15 of them, and now it’s gone.”
Frequently, you’ll find acts about to play the Mauch Chunk Opera House signing CD’s, as well as various performers from Penn’s Peak. “That can vary according to the deals they’ve signed with outlets like Wal-Mart, but it’s great when they’re able to be here.” Recently, Jonathan Edwards and Billy Cobham were in the store.
“I left the mall, but I kept the hours,” Pompa says. “There’s plenty of parking, you don’t have to feed the meters, and we’re open late. So come on by!”