Friday, April 17, 2009

Record Stores - The Survivors

Finally, there are three stores which I'd like to pay tribute to. These truly are the survivors.

First is Buffalo's Record Theatre. This was my first stop on my first-ever US record shopping adventure and I must say that I was impressed. Their massive store at 1800 Main Street had a whole buncha stuff that you either couldn't get west of the border or if you could, you'd have to pay a steep premium to get it as an import. Even during the late-80's Canadian dollar free-fall, you could still walk in to the store on a Sunday and only pay a 15% markup. Of course, they couldn't help you hide your booty from the vultures at Canada Customs, but at least the price they started to screw you at was a lot less.

As with most companies these days, the current-day Record Theatre is a shadow of its former self. Down to only 3 stores, but they're still fiercely promoting music in the Buffalo area and still stock a rather wide selection of titles, new and used. I just need to know what I can do with all these damn frequent buyer stamps I've got lying around.

Survivor number 2 is Sam The Record Man. Yeah, you heard me. One store in Sarnia and another in Belleville don't exactly scream "chain", but hey, they're still here. And the one in Belleville at least has an awesome selection. By any town's standards. The mall that it's located in has an HMV, but for anyone who wants more than the Top 10, they head around the corner to Sam's. Or if they're like me, they drive 175km.

And finally, I'd like to end this list by paying tribute to the best darn used CD store Toronto has ever seen: Vortex. I remember walking into their original store on Dundas Street east and getting overwhelmed with the number of people they had jammed into their tiny shoebox of a store. It was there that I handled my first (used, yet still $27) CD. It was there that I spent many a Boxing Day rummaging through 50% off vinyl and 20% off CDs. It was there that I heard all sorts of cool, unheard-to-these-ears music that made me ask "How much do you want for that?"

I'd post a pricetag for Vortex, but it's simply an orange sticker with the price scribbled thereupon. Simple. And simply wonderful. Thanks, Bert.

Now then, enough about the past. Get out there and buy some music today! And please don't do it at Walmart.

No comments: