Saturday, April 22nd 2023, is National Record Store Day. It’s noteable that vinyl has made such a comeback that there is a national day dedicated to the stores that sell records. Bethel is lucky to have one of its own. Brothers John and Dennis Esposito opened Disc & Dat back in 1988, but it actually did not start out in Bethel. The business had its beginnings in Stamford, Connecticut, where John and Dennis are from. It also began exclusively as a CD store. CDs were the latest technology at the time and business boomed at first.
“Around 2000, business started to slow down, and rent in Stamford was expensive,” John recalls. So, they decided to move Disc & Dat up to Bethel where rent was more affordable. The brothers had also moved to Redding a few years prior, so they were now closer to their work. John says they love the work they do, serving the local community. They get the most enjoyment out of talking to people and helping their customers.
John says, “The best part is that we get to listen to great music all day!” Sounds like a sweet gig. Though there are fun aspects of owning a record store, John mentions that it has its challenges, too. There’s a ton of physical work involved when moving product around. They have a lot of music in storage that they need to sort through and determine what they are going to put in the store. John says that while they sell everything they acquire, they have come across some unique and valuable merchandise over the years. Currently, they have a copy of the Beatles’ 1966 album, Yesterday and Today available in the store. What’s special about this album in particular is that it reveals part of the original “butcher” cover that caused controversy when the album was originally released. The record label pulled all the copies with the “butcher” cover and pasted a slick over them with a cleaner image of the Beatles on the cover. You can see this album for yourself at the store. John and Dennis have it on display behind the counter…it’s fascinating!
In addition to unique records and other merchandise that come and go in the shop, they have had some notable visitors to the store. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth is originally from Bethel and frequents the shop along with his mother, and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT is also known to stop by from time to time.
John and Dennis go through phases of what they like to listen to, but classic rock is a favorite between them. When you go in the shop, you’ll likely hear some classic rock bumping through the aisles of vinyl, CDs, and cassettes.
For National Record Store Day this year, they have one hundred new titles in stock that they are showcasing. John says, “We used to have live entertainment all day long, but when COVID hit, we had to stop that. We have to bring that back because that was a lot of fun. Hopefully next year.” Even though there won’t be live entertainment, go down to the store to check out their specials, listen to some great music while being surrounded by a welcoming environment and friendly faces. Disc & Dat is a gem and a fun place to be! Maybe you’re just getting into vinyl, or you’re someone that grew up in the era of vinyl and still hold a deep appreciation for the art of music in its real, raw form. Either way, John and Dennis are great to talk to and provide a wealth of insight and recommendations.
John reflects, “It’s a great thing that vinyl has made such a comeback in the last few years because it keeps the pure enjoyment of music alive. It also gets the younger people listening to the older, good stuff, which makes me happy.”
The shop is located at 107 Greenwood Avenue and you can reach them at 203-797-0067 or at email@example.com.