>> Olympic Records is a small, unassuming record shop that sits on Wickenden street in Providence, Rhode Island. However, once you are inside the small building, you are treated to a great selection of LPs new and old, and a section of 7” singles that really can’t be rivaled by any other shop in the state.The when you enter the shop, you are greeted by Kevin Morosini, the owner and sole employee of Olympic Records. After opening in 2011, Kevin has been operating the shop seven days a week
Kevin has always been an avid collector of records for his personal use. “I was a kid who collected records and worked a lot”, he remarked. “I’ve been buying records since the mid nineties, when I was a high school kid”. All those years of of collection, coupled with a desire to strike it out on his own “I work all the time, all the money that I make I’m buying records. I had a huge record collection.” said Morosini, “I think I could probably work the same amount, or work a little bit more, still collect records, and just do something for myself”.
Getting to opening day was not without its challenges. One of the biggest hurdles was finding a location for the store. “I own this record shop because I got really lucky finding a spot” remarked Morosini, saying “If you wanna open a store, that’s fucking fine, but where are you gonna put it? You might think there's a few spots you may wanna locate yourself, and then hopefully, there’s an actual storefront there for you to rent, and then hopefully, you can actually afford it”. Once the location, a storefront at 580 Wickenden street, was rented, renovations were required. Kevin went to work, and spent “a month and a half renovating the space”. This was a do-it-yourself operation from the beginning, with Morosini remarking, “I built these shelves, I stole these milk crates, it’s the kind of thing where I’m not, you know, a [Newbury Comics]. I couldn’t afford one of those big DVD shelves that they have in there”.
After all that hard work, the shop finally opened in summer 2011. Was it worth it? Absolutely. This is my personal favorite record shop by a long shot.Most record shops have a certain “flavor” to them. The owner’s personal tastes are heavily reflected in the kind of things that end up on the shelves. For Olympic, that flavor is the vast collection of 45 RPM singles.
The 45 selection is, in my opinion, one of the best parts of the shop. You’ll be able to find just about everything you could want, from old Sun Records rockabilly or classic Soul (I’ve gotten some awesome Wilson Pickett singles here) to New Wave, Alternative, and Indie singles from the 70’s to now. It’s well organized, well stocked, and vast, especially for a small shop. This is great if you’re a fan of 7 in singles. It seems most shops only have a few beat up singles shoved in a box off in the corner. At Olympic, however, the singles take center stage.
The shop has a great selection of new and used indie and alternative LPs that bolster the standard record shop offerings of classic rock records as well. You are able to pick up records from artists such as The Mountain Goats or Veronica Falls along with your standard dad rock. Even within the older stuff, you’re likely to find some interesting stuff, especially in the used Indie section.
The one possible downside of the shop is its size. It is a small shop with limited real estate for records, and a lot of that is taken up by the singles. So, you will not find every record you want to own in one trip. However, there is a caveat to this. The shop has basically every record you damn well should own. What I mean by this is that Olympic manages to get things you may not necessarily be looking for, but it always has some great music available for you to discover. And even then, Kevin is more than willing to keep an eye out for stuff you’re looking for.
On top of all this, Olympic is always getting new stock in. So any time you walk in the door you are likely to find something new and exciting that was not there before. It’s a great shop in a great town. If you find yourself in Providence, RI, you cannot go wrong with Olympic Records. <<