Rock Palace Packed with Music and 'Museum effect'
By Liz Markhlevskaya
Hampton Union, Tuesday, August 10, 2010
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Liz Markhlevskaya photo]
HAMPTON BEACH -- At the back of the Casino Ballroom complex, there is a store that is unlike any other at Hampton Beach.
Named the only rock 'n' roll store at the beach, the Rock Palace is a place music lovers turn to when they want merchandise and rock music for a low price.
The relatively small store is packed to the ceiling with posters, stickers, unique clocks, signs, patches, CDs, DVDs, any many other items that are sure to please those who like rock music, especially metal.
Peter Lodi, owner of Rock Palace, describes his store having a "museum effect" for those who come inside, with many people browsing through various CDs and interesting posters.
Despite his love for metal music, Lodi never set out to start a rock store at the beginning.
Before Rock Palace came into being, Lodi's business was games at Salisbury Beach. When someone won a game like darts, he would give out rock T-shirts as prizes. Before long, people started asking whether they could buy the shirts, and Lodi got an idea to make a store out of rock merchandise.
"Someone said 'You should start a store like this,'"0" says Lodi. In 1990, he opened his store at Hampton Beach selling T-shirts and posters. While at first Lodi's store was merchandise-oriented, he later decided to add music cassettes that people could buy, and later moved on to CDs in the late 1990s. Now, Lodi just focuses on used CDs when it comes to selling music.
"I think new CDs in the country are struggling," says Lodi.
With an increasing number of people downloading music, new CDs are harder to sell, he says. Starting this year, Lodi stopped buying new CDs for his store and is instead focusing on used ones, buying them from places such as eBay and Craig's List.
Lodi says that lower price is the biggest factor for why people are still buying used CDs. At the Rock Palace, they are usually $7.50 to $8. Other than music, the Rock Palace has stickers, jewelry, patches, posters, DVDs, and even clocks with artwork on them.
"People like the signs, too, they think it's hilarious," says Lodi. For the past four years, items by the Insane Clown Posse have been a big hit at the Rock Palace. According to Lodi, 40 percent of his sales come from merchandise that has to do with the rap-metal duo of the evil clowns. Lodi even started selling Faygo soda, known to be a favorite of the ICP, after customers began asking for it.
While most of Lodi's customers are ages 25 and younger, older crowds are drawn to the Rock Palace when the Casino Ballroom, right above Lodi's store, plays concerts like 1980s hair metal bands.
The Rock Palace can be found inside the Casino building complex, at 169 Ocean Boulevard.