A longtime haven for local music aficionados is closing its doors for good. Record Theatre announced Tuesday it is shuttering its last retail location on Main Street in Buffalo this summer.
The announcement comes less than three months after Record Theatre closed its long-standing University Plaza location, near the University at Buffalo's South Campus. Just last year, the independent chain, which once had several outlets in the area, celebrated its 40th year in business.
Mike Pierce, president of Transcontinent Record Sales Inc., says despite the support of loyal customers, remaining profitable in the age of digital music was too difficult. He says from a profitability standpoint, keeping the store, at the corner of Main Street and Lafayette Avenue, open was unsustainable.
"We crunched the numbers and it just wasn't feasible. The industry has changed so much. The infrastructure of the building, the minimum wage keeps going up, the internet, all these factors. A whole perfect storm basically happened here and unfortunately, we couldn't continue," Pierce told WBFO.
Pierce cites the explosive growth of digital music sales, along with the cost of maintaining a 30,000 square foot building, as factors that went into the decision. He says there are also issues involving the estate of late Record Theatre founder Lenny Silver, who died in March.
Employees were informed of the news on Monday. Six have been let go and the remaining 10 workers will stay on until the store's last day, the date of which is undetermined. A going-out-of-business sale will begin on June 19 and will continue for several weeks.
"It's just the state of affairs of the business. I didn't want to see this day coming, but it has. We're going to try to do the best we can to do right by our employees. They loved working for us. Music was their passion."
"It's a sad day. It really is a sad day."