One morning last week just after 8 a.m., as Sarabjeet Ubbu was starting the day behind the counter of his 7 Star Food Store in Banning, Calif., he noticed black smoke billowing from the roof of the building across the street.
The unassuming beige facility houses Apollo Masters. Owners of a manufacturing plant and a closely held formula for making and mounting a specific mix of lacquer onto aluminum discs, the company supplies a reported 75% of the world’s blank lacquers, the shiny circular plates essential for the production of vinyl records.
The vinyl sector is a small but vital part of the music industry. Though it was impossible to know from where Ubbu stood, the smoke pouring from the windowless plant signaled a kind of doomsday scenario. The business of selling vinyl albums, in the midst of an unexpected 14-year surge in sales, could have been facing its biggest existential threat since the rise of the compact disc.
Ubbu stepped outside to call 911, but a police car had already arrived. So he started recording video on his phone. Eventually he retreated into his car on the far side of his property.
Read the full story on LATimes.com.