Got Vinyl? Record Pop-Up Brings the Intergenerational Heartbeat to the Hub


Photo Courtesy of: Walker Kmetz

The Jam’s 1982 hit record “A Town Called Malice” blasts from a nearby stereo, invigorating the atmosphere with its spunky new wave flair. A hodgepodge of vinyls and classic film posters are scattered about, spurring onlookers to gather in close-knit crowds in search of a desired possession. Is this a scene from your local record store; the beloved gem of your hometown? No, it’s WDCV’s annual Pop-Up Record Shop, which was assembled outside of the HUB Bookstore on Feb. 28.  

The eclectic assortment was brought in by long-time salesman Dennis Gotthard, a resident of Carlisle who has been an avid collector of records for decades. A newfound love for vinyl among the younger generations is what keeps his business exciting, and what has kept him coming back to Dickinson’s campus for years.

“I’m 80 years old. I’ve been collecting records since I’ve been 14,” Gotthard said. “I have 70,000 and counting, and I got serious about selling about 25 years ago. I love it because of the young people. The young people have saved the music. About 20 years ago when I would go for records people would go ‘Are you crazy? What can I pay you to take ‘em outta here?’…now it’s totally changed.”

Scrambling down the HUB’s spiral staircase, visitors were greeted by a treasure trove of records, CDs, DVDs, instruments and practically every possible musical curio imaginable, but they also discovered an undeniable sense of community. Amidst their feverish search for albums, students shared their musical interests with their peers. Thought you were the only one who listened to Jim Croce after your dad played one of his songs during a long car drive? Think again. 

Gotthard enthusiastically noted this continued appreciation for the classics, pointing out that he was “impressed with the knowledge” the students had of some of the tried and true greats, among them Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.

For many, the love of collecting vinyl is spurred by a moment — listening to their parents’ favorite rock or new wave band, or buying their first record. It seems to be a passion that has proven timeless.

Chris Lightcap, Dennis Gotthard’s “right-hand man” and business partner, searched for records with his friends as a kid — The Beatles’ 1967 album “Magical Mystery Tour” sparking his collection. As he helped some students start their own collections at the pop-up, he noted the record’s comeback among a new generation.

“I think the vinyl’s back in swing,” Lightcap said. “It’s coming back in popularity.”

But what were the most sought-after albums among Dickinson students at the pop-up? For many of the visitors, it was music that they grew up listening to with their parents. One of the first items Amelia Maxham ’26 picked out was the album “Synchronicity” by The Police, a favorite of her mother’s.

“The Police reminds me of my mom,” Maxham said. “It’s the most ‘mom band’ ever.”

Ann Ogle ’26 also noted that her interest in collecting records came from her family. The soundtrack of her childhood was albums played by her father, who later inspired her to buy her own record player.

“I grew up listening to vinyl with my dad, so it’s kind of a way for us to connect,” Ogle said. “[I was] raised on vinyls, he has a massive collection, so I bought a record player this fall and kinda started building my own.”

Yet the Pop-Up Record Shop also presented students with the perfect opportunity to fully delve into the variety of albums, giving them an opportunity to further explore, or perhaps discover, their own musical tastes. Throughout the event, DJ Joe George ’89, host of the Tuesday morning WDCV radio show “Dig!” spun his own selection of albums on a manual turntable. The constant, rhythmic flow of his “eclectic alternative” tunes provided the perfect backdrop of sound for visitors to jam out. 

George remarked on the practically instantaneous availability of music today, made possible by the internet and major music streaming platforms. To him, it has created a paradox — the convenient access to songs and artists has actually made people search for music far less than they used to. It was this routine hunt for vinyls, George argued, that spurred a lively communal experience and forged friendships.

“When I was growing up, there was no internet, so you had to find [music]…and then you met, like, many people who shared stuff with you, and it was a bunch of weirdos,” George said. “All the ‘weirdos’ kind of hung together, and maybe you didn’t like everything that your friend did, but they liked a couple of things that you did, and they exposed you to different things.”

It seemed that WDCV and Gotthard’s Pop-Up Record Shop was able to revive these electrified scenes that were the heart of local record stores in the 20th century. The HUB became alive with people creating connections, simply through a shared love of music. Gotthard said that he hopes to expand this experience to other nearby campuses, including the Penn State Dickinson Law. Despite his reputation as a lifelong collector, he said he still finds vinyls at record stores that he has “never seen before,” a delight that he enjoys continuing to share with others.

Outside of Dickinson’s annual pop-up, Gotthard’s collection is housed across several stores. As Delaney Reimer ’26 said during her visit to the pop-up, “It’s good to, like, bring awareness to [the collection] and like people might hear about it here and they might go back to it again, like outside of Dickinson.” Dennis Gotthard’s vinyls can be found at Miss Ruth’s Time Bomb, The Carlisle Antique Mall, Bedford Street Antiques and Black Rose Antiques in Hanover.