New Pressing Plant Opens in Cleveland

Cleveland’s newest, and so far only vinyl pressing plant is open for business. Gotta Groove Records seeks to inject more life into two supposedly dormant entities: vinyl records and the city of Cleveland. While the latter has certainly had its troubles, the LP market continues to grow as young buyers discover its superiority over other formats.

Gotta Groove’s owner, Vince Slusarz, had always been into plastics (though it’s unclear how much of a role “The Graduate” played in his career).

A lifelong Clevelander and music lover, Vince’s father-in-law ran a local “one stop” (an independent record distribution outlet) in the 1960s and 1970s (gold records from Stax and Atlantic dot the walls). After pursuing “perfect sound forever” in the 1980s, Slusarz bought a Rega P3 a few years ago and got back into vinyl in a big way. Realizing resurgence was afoot, he decided a pressing plant would be the perfect fit for his talents.

At the same time, New Jersey’s Dynamic Sun Pressing was looking to unload some equipment. Calls were made, a deal was struck, and one balmy March day, Slusarz found himself trucking nearly a dozen SMT and Hamilton presses across Pennsylvania. Months of setting up infrastructure (boilers, HVAC, etc) and testing followed and the plant is now up and running with orders coming in from clients looking for the analog experience.

Joining Vince are Dan Greathouse (operations), Tyler Kremberg (web and marketing) and Matt Earley (sales & marketing). The latter two are based in Columbus and got involved when they called Dynamic Sun on a whim, hoping to buy some presses. After mentioning their location, Dynamic told them “we just sold the presses to someone else in Ohio.” Some Columbo-like sleuthing led them to Gotta Groove. Both are also involved in distribution and consider themselves vinyl guys to boot. (Kremberg, a native New Yorker, runs an Ariston Q-deck with Creek electronics. Clevelander Earley has a 1970’s Garrard).

Earley estimates a large portion of their business comes from underground bands who plan to sell 7"-ers at shows, completely bypassing retail (and, it turns out, the RIAA number crunchers). He invites clients to visit Cleveland, pointing out that a comfortable listening room in the plant allows them to hear their work as it comes off the presses. The well sound-proofed area is equipped with Altec speakers, a vintage Sansui 5000x receiver and a Technics SL-1200mkII turntable with Audio-Technica cartridge. A Dual 1214 with Shure cartridge stands by as a backup, and the crew spends many hours checking disks for audible (and visual) defects, imperfections or inconsistencies. During my first visit, they were having a problem setting the humidity at which to pre-bake labels... a problem they had already solved by my second foray a few days later. LPs are also weighed to ensure at least 140 grams of vinyl goodness in each disc.

Third parties handle mastering and plating and Gotta Groove maintains a close relationship with vinyl artisans all over the country. Their “one-stop-shop” pricing reflects that. Drop off a master tape and Gotta Groove will produce a crate of shrink-wrapped LPs or 45s in the time it takes the Browns to lose two games. (Not to disappoint Aerosmith, or native son “Bull Moose” Jackson, but Gotta Groove doesn’t do 10”... yet).

The friendly staff is always happy to provide tours, answer questions or even provide advice on the best sandwiches in Cleveland, so drop by the historic Tyler Building if you’re on the North Coast. And if you’re not, visit