BERWICK, Pa. — When COVID-19 forced a man from Berwick to close his martial arts gym in 2020, a really hard time in his life quickly turned into a new opportunity.
Newswatch 16 was there for the grand opening of his dream record store back then, but a new obstacle has the place in Columbia County hosting a grand reopening this weekend.
About a year and a half after the grand opening of the instant success that was WaxPax Records in Berwick, everything changed on Christmas morning. Bitter cold temperatures moved in, and a pipe in the building burst.
"So 6 o'clock in the morning, the pit bull is just barking and barking and going crazy. She never does that. So, I was like, 'Alright, hold on, let me go check it out.' And I stepped out on the top floor, and I stepped into water," said owner Mark Collier.
Collier says there was about $70,000 worth of water damage to the place that housed the record store, his wife's chiropractor office, and their home. He says it took him about a day to get over the shock before he was ready to start over.
"I'm not going to say this is something I want to do my whole life and have one thing happen and fold it all up, then that's not a passion," Collier said.
The new location is still in Berwick, about a mile from the old store. It is a bit bigger, too, which means more records. Collier says there are somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 records for sale here. Thanks to all the help he received from friends, family, and even strangers over the past few months, he is ready for his grand reopening.
"The community of Berwick and the record community, the music community, my phone every day has blown up since Christmas. 'Hey, what can I do? What can I do to help? I'll be right there; how can I help? How can I do this?'" Collier explained.
It is hard to not feel the love inside the new spot. From all the artwork on the walls done by a local artist to the merch printed by a local print shop, Collier says he knows he would not be here without every person. Now, just days before the grand reopening, it is starting to sink in that it's really happening.
"I would suggest getting here early; there is definitely a buzz. I'm going to be doing giveaways all day — records, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, posters," said Collier.
The grand reopening of Wax Pax Records is this Saturday at 10 a.m. at 230 W. Front Street in Berwick. Store hours will be Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
You can follow the store on Instagram @waxpax_records.
Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.