YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – From the outside it looks like any other brick building, but the sign, Peppermint Productions, is what sets it apart.
Peppermint has been recording music, producing jingles, doing commercials, and doing so for 50 years. The whole time they’ve been out of the building in Indianola and Homestead on the south side of Youngstown, and with the same man in charge: Gary Rhamey.
” That’s where it happens. It’s the studio part of the studio, ”said Rhamey.
He has owned Peppermint Productions for 50 years.
“A lot of people sang into this microphone,” he said.
While the studio is where all the musical instruments are used, Rhamey himself is more comfortable behind the glass.
One of their recording sessions was with Anthony LaMarca from Youngstown.
“One of the reasons I thought it would be a good place to have a studio was the great musical talent that existed in the area, and I think I was right,” said Rhamey.
The roots of peppermint date back to the early 1960s.
“It all started on Ellenwood Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio. There was a studio there called WAM Records, ”Rhamey said.
Eventually, WAM morphed into Peppermint, which Rhamey bought in 1971. All genres of music were recorded there.
In fact, the 70s and 80s were some of Peppermint’s busiest times.
“We would have a group from Pennsylvania that would come on Friday and Saturday, and then at midnight Saturday, a group from New York would show up,” Rhamey said.
More recently, Red Wanting Blue has used the studio and the Vindys have worked there as well, but Peppermint is best known for its polkas.
“This is Lenny Gomulka from Connecticut who was here last week. We finished recording his album, ”said Rhamey.
And the Peppermint polkas have won some impressive awards.
“We actually had five albums that we did here in the polka category that won Grammys,” Rhamey said.
Rhamey is 75 years old and still has no plans to retire.
“Well people keep asking me to work, and I like it. I don’t know if I’m going to retire again, but I’m certainly taking it a little easier than before, ”he said.
WAM Records was created by Youngstown polka legend Del Sinchak, and Sinchak still works at Peppermint as Rhamey’s top consultant.