It was the year 2000. Not just the dawn of a new century, but a new store. Even though I was a store manager myself, I only found out about the expansion through the grapevine.
We were at a party when Tom said to me, “You’re going to be so relieved when the new store opens.”
What?…what new store??
“They didn’t tell you? I can’t believe they didn’t tell you. Yeah, they’re opening up a new store and moving head office with it. The head office people are finally going to be out of your hair when they move it.”
“Head office” was a little room in the back of my store.
Nope, nobody told me! In fact, nobody ever told me in any official capacity. Even when they had started building the place and deciding who would staff it, nobody ever officially told me. Even as they chose staff members from my own crew to run it, they didn’t tell me. Communication at the Record Store was dysfunctional. I heard again in passing from one of my employees that was being sent there, as if I already knew. This pissed me off, but Tom was right. I was hugely relieved to have the head office people moving out. Good riddance; now they could go and micromanage somebody else!
Life was peachy for a couple years. I had them out of my hair, and I took over the back office when I began running the store website.
All things end, and in 2003, they moved me to the new store as well. Sales were down at my old store, and I had some problematic staff members. So they shuffled around managers and I took over the other store. I hated working there. It may have been new, but it never felt like “home” like my old store did. They told me that being comfortable wasn’t a good thing.
I didn’t enjoy managing the second store like I did the first, and I hated the location. It was smaller. There was no room behind the counter and I was always bashing into things. It had fewer listening stations. I missed my old regular customers, and being micromanaged again sucked!
I finally left in 2006 and the store soldiered on with a new manager. But again, nothing lasts forever. In the Brave New World that is music retail, a lot of record stores bit the dust. Now it’s 2018, and an era is coming to an end. The store that I uncomfortably managed is closing this year. Even though working there was not fun, it’s still a sad day for me. It might never have felt like home, but it kind of was for three years. Huge chunks of my CD collection came from that store. My mint Black Sabbath Black Box, my Queen 3″ singles, and a Japanese import Deep Purple box set* all came from that location. So did dozens of Record Store Tales.
As the sun sets on my old store, it’s bittersweet. Not a lot of great memories there, but sadness just the same. Any time a record store closes, it’s a loss for music fans. The inventory will be consolidated with another store that is moving to a bigger location, but it’s hard not to see it as another one biting the dust.
* Review forthcoming.