Record stores have long since gone the way of the head shop, lost somewhere in the 1960s and '70s. One exception is Rainbow Records in Barrington, a little slice of those days when you'd rush out to buy the latest album by your favorite group, and peruse the racks of your local vinyl emporium for hours trying to find ways to stretch your meager allowance.
Longtime owner John Thominet is a true vinyl junkie. Since his first purchase of "Surfin' Safari" by The Beach Boys as a 9-year-old, he's been hopelessly hooked on wax tracks. His store is jammed with thousands of LPs, new and used, a veritable candy store for record addicts.
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"There is nothing like vinyl," Thominet says. "It has a totally different sound than CDs or that MP3 stuff. I'm sorry, but you don't listen to music on a phone and really get to appreciate it."
Thominet says he likes the way the older vinyl records sound compared to new technologies. And he says the way the music is packaged is a lost art since most music fans purchase tracks online.
"Vinyl has a great in-depth sound to it," he says. "There is an art to what I call albums and what everybody called albums back in the day. From the cover, which is a piece of art in itself, to listening to, and appreciating the way songs are arranged from side to side, you don't get that with any other music format."
Thominet is the fifth owner of Rainbow Records, which started out in Park Ridge in the mid-1970s. The store was moved to Palatine in 1993 by the fourth owner, who offered John the opportunity to buy the store from him in 1997. He eventually moved the store to Barrington, and now is at its present location at 421 North Northwest Highway next to the library.
Thominet says his love of music got him into the business, and it's that same passion that has kept him there despite never accumulating great wealth as a result.
"You start out because you're nuts about the music and that's it," Thominet says.
"If you think about how much money you're going to make, that's a mistake. You're not going to get rich doing this. What you're doing is sharing your love of music with other people," he says.