Over 1,000 Long Islanders streamed into Looney Tunes Record Store in West Babylon Saturday to partake in the shop’s all-day 50th birthday party.
For five decades, Karl Groeger’s record shop, now run by his two sons, Karl Jr. and Jamie, has sold vinyl, eight tracks, cassettes, CDs and vinyl once more to generations of Long Islanders.
To thank the community for its enduring support, the Groegers offered free food throughout the day, including bagels, a party hero and cakes and cookies decorated with the shop’s iconic mascot, an electric guitar-playing duck.
They also discounted their entire stock for the day, offering such sales as 15% off turntables and new and used LPs and 50% off t-shirts, mugs, toys, books and posters.
“It’s been exciting, seeing a lot of old friends, customers and people we haven’t seen in a long time,” Karl Groeger Jr. said. “We’re very proud of our accomplishments, it’s been a long journey.”
[Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the location of Looney Tunes.]
An institution in the community
Saturday afternoon, Suffolk County Legislator Kevin J. McCaffrey came by to issue a proclamation congratulating the store on five decades in business.
“It’s really been an institution here in Babylon and in this community,” McCaffrey said. “In 2007, they had a fire, but out of the ashes rose this beautiful business again, and it was because of all the people that wanted to come back, that knew this place when they were growing up.”
Village of Lindenhurst Mayor Michael A. Lavorata stopped in as well, just as he has since before he was old enough to drive. His earliest memories of Looney Tunes are from 1971 when he was a teenager dropped off at the hard rock hideaway, while his mother shopped for groceries across the street.
“When I first got my drivers license in ’74, the first place I drove was to the deli cause I was hungry, but the second place I drove was right down here to Looney Toons,” Lavorata said. “There’s no place like this store, I love it, Jamie and Karl are great guys.”
“I was here when they reopened after the pandemic in June of last year, that was a great day,” he added, holding a stack of CDs which included titles by Garbage, Fine Young Cannibals, UB40 and Gin Blossoms. “I’m glad to be here today and buy more stuff. You can never have enough music.”
‘Patience and perseverance’
The shop is well known for its stage, where internationally recognized rock and metal acts have performed and signed autographs for rabid fans. Signed LP jackets and guitars hang throughout the shop as evidence of every legendary encounter.
Inviting in rock stars is a great way to drum up any business, but Groeger Jr. said “patience and perseverance” are the true secrets to keeping a record shop alive and well for 50 years.
“We’ve seen so many different things, and ups and downs over 50 years,” he said. “A fire, MP3s, downloads, records coming back, we’ve seen it all. Because of the great customers we’ve had and the great employees that have been here, we’ve been very fortunate.”