by Brian Smith
here are but a few reasons: Um, for starters, the community needs the store so people can have jobs and spend their money so other people and businesses can stay afloat. Music geeks need a place to work because their landlords with families need their money as much as the local colleges they attend need their tuition. You need a place where you can transcend your computer-glow shut-in existence and go talk to other people about like-minded things while trading or buying music.
Which brings us to the point of my obvious little puff ‘n huff: See, Ann Arbor’s Schoolkids’ Records in Exile (332 S. State Street, Ann Arbor; 734-663-7248; www.schoolkids.com) is closing its doors at the end of July. That’s right, dear music lovers. Another long-in-the-tooth, necessary-for-local-health store stumbles and falls. Store owner Steve Bergman wrote in and here are a few excerpts from his email:
I thought I’d let you know I’m closing Schoolkids’ Records in Exile this July 31. I’ve been selling music in Ann Arbor since 1976. ...In Exile has lasted 9 years after the closing of our Liberty Street store and our Record Label, at the end of 1998. In the interim, Schoolkids’ Records in Exile has won Best Ann Arbor Record store from both The Michigan Daily and Current Magazine for most of those nine years and have developed a very loyal following. I am in many ways as proud of In Exile as I was of the original Schoolkids. Although we are obviously smaller (900 sq. ft vs 7,000 ), our customers have had the entire spectrum of recorded music available to them through both our in -house stock and our remarkably effective special order system and we still pride ourselves on excellent customer service. ...
As for the reason we are closing: The last year and a half has seen a precipitous decline in volume that’s been a combination of a disintegrating industry, sadly fixated on the wrong problems — including an inevitable losing fight against file-sharing (with disastrous efforts like copy controlled CDs that penalized the very folks still buying CDs), aligning themselves with national mass merchandisers, including Internet retailers — at the expense of regional and independent retailers, and, most notably, the industry-eroding profit margins by encouraging below cost retail pricing by the big box stores and on iTunes, and, unfortunately, a dismal Michigan economy ...
In any case, I’m offering a store wide close-out sale on all of our new CDs and Vinyl in an effort to sell off most of our inventory before we vacate our basement location inside the Bivouac on State Street. We have thousands of CDs and vinyl in stock and can still special order most any in-print CD — often overnight.
I was thinking your readers might want to take advantage of that and that some might want to make a final visit to our store