Profile on Dan Bernal and his Niles district vinyl record store

It’s often difficult to find the time to do profiles on people in the community, but I’m glad there was time to do this one on “Needle to the Groove” in the Niles district. It ran Sunday …

FREMONT — When Dan Bernal made plans to open his vintage music store, only one location would do. It had to be in Niles — where nostalgia swirls around the neighborhood’s quaint, Capra-esque lanes like steam from a Brooklyn manhole.

“Everything’s antique in Niles,” Bernal said, while an employee cleaned a Johnny Cash record. “It’s just an old town. It fits in perfectly.”

That same charming nostalgic vibe also might explain why the vinyl records he sells at his shop, Needle to the Grove, have such enduring appeal. After all, he said, when music buffs embark on a quest to recoup their record collections, they really are revisiting their faded youth.

“One woman was almost crying in here when she found a record by Taj Mahal,” said Bernal, 40. “She had the album when she was younger and she was so happy to find it again.”

Bernal knows the feeling. Music has been his lifelong obsession, starting when he was a Newark 12-year-old deejaying house parties, and continuing through his 20s when he was a devoted “superdigger,” his term for professional collectors constantly on the hunt for old records.

“I’ll go anywhere for good records in good condition,” the Fremont resident said. “I still get butterflies when people drive up with boxes of records and I can work out a deal to buy them. I get a ‘record high’ and it’s all natural.”

For the entire story, please click here.

Chris DeBenedetti