The story behind one of Dayton’s music institutions celebrating a BIG milestone this weekend

This weekend marks the 35th anniversary of Omega Music being in business. Originally located on North Main Street in Dayton, Omega moved into its current home on Fifth Street in the Oregon District in 2010.

Vinyl has been the store’s lifeblood through this historic milestone.

>> Top 10 things to do this week

“It never really went away,” said ower Alex Staiger. “Vinyl and records have been the consistent factor here. They kind of went out of circulation in the early ‘90s, but our shoppers never stopped coming in for records. We’ve seen a resurgence in the past 10 to 15 years.”

The music store was founded in 1983 by Gary Staiger, Alex’s father. Gary passed away just months after the move to Fifth Street, never seeing the success that would come to the now-iconic record store.

According to, young adults are far exceeding their boomer counterparts when it comes to buying music on vinyl.

>> This beloved Oregon District shop is now open again after devastating fire

“We’re having parents bring in their kids to hunt for records, kids are coming in on their own. We get a lot of kids in from Stivers after school,” Staiger said. “It’s the thrill of the dig, thrill of the hunt.”

In a time when most businesses are shifting their focus onto millennials and Gen Y in terms of advertising and building brand loyalty, it appears vinyl may be one area of the music industry that’s been and will remain effortlessly successful.

“Based on the type of music they listen to, my customers tend to listen on a physical format,” said Luke Tandy of Skeleton Dust Records, a newer downtown Dayton store. “Physical media across the board is gaining popularity.”

In the digital world we live in, the nostalgic and intimate experience of a record is practically unheard of. Yet it’s something that’s been here for us all along. What is this special attribute records have that keep interest throughout generations? When it comes to vinyl, it’s all about experience rather than convenience.

>> Omega Music’s 35th anniversary bash

“Picking up the record and holding it in your hand. No one is excited to see your .MP3 collection, or what playlists you follow on Spotify,” said Staiger. “The act of pulling out a record, putting it on the turntable, taking the toning arm and putting the record needle to the vinyl. It’s almost like a form of meditation.”

People “want to hold something in their hand; we get further away from that every day. There’s not much physicality in everyday life,” agreed Tandy.

Too, there’s something to be said about the sound of a record. An analog recording has a notably different sound compared to modern digital recordings. Staiger explained, “it sounds warmer.”

>> 8 Dayton bands you should give a funk about

When it comes to sound, and more so genre, vinyl doesn’t discriminate. Omega Music sells all genres on vinyl, from country to alternative to jazz to metal. When it comes to their 35-year milestone, Staiger makes it clear: it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

“They’re going to keep pressing records,” he said. “Music labels have to have a physical format; and vinyl is where it’s at. It’ll be a sustainable business as far as I can see.” Worth noting, too, is Omega’s vast inventory of used LPs and other kinds of music- and culture-related swag.

>> 5 Dayton rock bands that have gone international

Owning, listening to and experimenting with vinyl isn’t all that expensive, either. For less than $200, you can get a good-quality, complete set-up to play records at home. This includes a turntable, speakers and mini amplifier. Not a bad deal when iPods can run you upwards of $300. Staiger noted Omega sells three to five turntables and packages each week.

Whatever the reason, perhaps not a single definitive answer, vinyl sales continue to grow. Billboard reported vinyl LP sales accounted for 14 percent of all physical album sales in 2017. Here’s to another 35 years of selling records.

About the Author