Amoeba LA to close?

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by zakyfarms, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. thoutah

    thoutah Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I was at the Berkeley Amoeba on opening day too! (Though I couldn't get over to the Haight St. Amoeba until a few days after it opened.) But for the kind of stuff I've looked for over the years, the Berkeley Amoeba's amazing finds ratio remained pretty good up until the very early 00s (at least if you went on a regular basis). I honestly think that store really benefitted in the 90s from so many people unloading their vinyl in favor of CDs. But after the early 00s, things slowly started dwindling, though the used CD section (and the discount CD racks) remained pretty strong. I still go every week and usually walk out of there with something, though. But I seldom find more than a couple of things at a time. I miss the days when I'd go in and find 10 records and have to put a few back because I couldn't afford them all! Or when you could scour the dollar LP bins and come out with an armful of records that were in totally fine condition.
     
    lightbulb likes this.
  2. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    My memory of the SF store where we worked was we didn't really have any freedom to shape the identity or inventory of the store. We just got what was shipped basically. No imports for example. Tower, where I worked immediately after, was strikingly different in that we were allowed to order pretty much whatever we wished for the section we were in charge of. Which was brilliant in that the employees were actively involved in shaping the store. Fabulous time.
     
    lightbulb and thoutah like this.
  3. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    Really? I don't remember that. I remember tons of cutouts.
     
  4. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    Much bigger profit markup on smoking and snorting items than records. Just sayin.
     
    lightbulb likes this.
  5. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    The different Wherehouse stores varied with respect to inventory. The small stores (and urban SF stores were mostly smaller) tended to mostly just have standard retail stock. The bigger stores might have substantial cutout sections, big classical sections, import sections, etc.

    Then there were the Big Bens stores, under the Integrity Entertainment umbrella, along with The Wherehouse. Those had a lot of everything, including huge import sections.
     
    chacha likes this.
  6. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    Forgit the name, Luna Park ( bar restaurant ) was right next door but they closed last year.
     
  7. thoutah

    thoutah Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Yeah, wow. Some (or maybe most?) Wherehouses were definitely like what you describe. But I remember as a metal head adolescent in the mid 80s finding import copies of Motorhead's Overkill and Metallica's Creeping Death 12" in the mid-80s at an East Bay Wherehouse. I also remember buying Metallica's Ride the Lightning at a Wherehouse shortly after it came out. A few of the Bay Area Wherehouses were definitely not strictly top 40 in the 80s. But yes, Tower Records was always better.

    I used to frequent the Tower in Mountain View in the 80s as a kid quite a lot when my father lived down there, and they had an awesome import section. I remember saving up to buy Cocteau Twins records there. Whoever managed the imports there back then knew what he/she was doing.

    Some of those Wherehouse stores had decent metal selections back then, but Tower always beat them in terms of "alternative/independent" imports.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  8. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    Yeah a bin or so of JEM imports. I recall some Genesis and progy things. No Beatles.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
    chacha likes this.
  9. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    Aah yes. Jeff probably ordered that cause he was into it as I recall.
     
    Mazzy likes this.
  10. agaraffa

    agaraffa Forum Resident

    As a lifelong NY'er I much prefer the Times Square of the 80's. Can't stand it now... The mallification of NYC makes me sick, there's nothing special about it anymore. Might as well just go to the local mega-mall in Jersey... See the same sights and save the parking fee and toll to cross the river.
     
    jhm likes this.
  11. StevenC

    StevenC Forum Resident

    LA Amoeba is not dying. People watch "All Things Must Pass" or "Last Shop Standing" and assume they will suffer the same fate. But, amazing inventory with very low overhead will keep them around. They have loads of repeat business and SF and LA are two markets of amazing socioeconomic conditions. Those aren't areas littered with lazy, cheaper-is-better illegal downloaders. Amoeba is still thriving. Last ten trips there, I waited in a 10 minute line with 8 cashiers open...
     
  12. bryduck

    bryduck Active Member

    Location:
    Glendale, CA US
    I worked at a former Big Ben's (they renamed all of them Wherehouses just before I got there) starting in the summer of 83-summer 84 in Venice, CA. We had almost complete autonomy as to what to stock. Oddly enough, we ended up stocking a whole lot of imports and small indies--gee, I wonder why? ;) The video rental 1/2 of the store, though, was where the big $ was coming in at that point; the (sad) writing was on the wall even then.
     
    chacha likes this.
  13. OldSkoolFool

    OldSkoolFool Active Member

    Location:
    Thousand Oaks
    Oh man. Thank goodness this isn't true. My kids (12 and 14) LOVE this place so much. We walk in and they run around the store and come back with arms full of vinyl and cd's. It's amazing to see kids so excited about music.
     
  14. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    Must have been on a weekend :tiphat:
     
  15. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    I always found it hysterical that their parent company was named Integrity Entertainment They didn't seem to have much of that. I also recall taking a lie detector test prior to them hiring me in 1973. :tiphat:
     
    chacha likes this.
  16. FVDnz

    FVDnz Forum Resident

    First time I saw the place, I was visiting LA and also happened to be on the same evening I saw Queensr├┐che at the House of Blues with Todd for the very first time 4 years ago. Funnily enough I caught the bus from the HoB and went the wrong way towards Westwood to go check out the place before the gig started lol. So when I finally went the right way, I had to take a photo then make sure I check out the store soon as it was almost time for the gig. And my what a record store too - still the best record store I've ever set foot in to this day. It's great that the lease gives them several more years, and I do hope they last even longer too. Hope to be back in LA soon especially for a little shopping spree in that place. And it's funny how I got confused at first when I was actually browsing through the 2nd hand section and not the actual releases to the left. Can spend a whole day in there for sure. :)
     
  17. Holerbot6000

    Holerbot6000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    Ahhhh - that's what happened. I knew Rasputin closed the 'Vinyl Basement' but I didn't realize they were going to move into that old bookstore space across from Amoeba. I think they were still building it when I was last there.

    That's a ballsy move to position themselves right across the street from Amoeba. I have pulled some good stuff out of the Rasputin basement over the years but to be honest, I always thought their prices were kinda high and they weren't nearly as consistent as Ariba when it came to the really obscure stuff. From the looks of the pictures though, it appears to be a lot more organized than the basement, which had more of a dingy old record swap feel to it.

    Still with both of those stores and the Rasputin CD store only half a block away, that makes the corner of Telegraph and Haste a pretty jumpin' place to shop for records. And to ogle hot Cal Bear girls, but that's another thread...
     
    Blender likes this.
  18. Summer of Malcontent

    Summer of Malcontent Forum Resident

    You honestly think that Amoeba Music closing down in LA means that a new record store of similar size is going to open up in Nameless, Tennessee?
     
  19. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    What??? It's been a four years since I was there last, but I remember vinyl talking up just as much space as CDs.

    I hope nothing changes until i've had another opportunity to go there. The last time I was there, I spent hours, but, unfortunately, had little money to play with.

    With Phoenix, AZ being something like the fourth or fifth biggest city in the U.S. now, they should consider expanding there.
     
  20. Marc Perman

    Marc Perman Forum Resident

    Location:
    West of the Hudson
    There's still plenty of vinyl at Amoeba but it feels like 90% of it is new, and priced a couple dollars more than anywhere else. There are are probably 8-10 better stores in LA for used LPs.
     
  21. thoutah

    thoutah Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Yeah, the new Mad Monk space is a lot nicer than the old vinyl basement. It's much more open, airier, and spacious; by comparison the vinyl basement felt a bit dank and cramped. Just a nicer experience all around.

    I agree with you, though, about Rasputin's LP prices, which I find are typically higher than the Telegraph Amoeba, and the condition of the LPs is sometimes worse considering the price. And I tend to find more stuff at Amoeba too. I don't know if it's a fluke, but since Rasputin's moved all their vinyl to Mad Monk, things seem to have improved a bit: not only have I been finding more records there than in past years, but I swear their pricing has gotten a bit more competitive.
     
    MikeJedi and Blender like this.
  22. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    Or Portland, Oregon; where they still have record stores. :D
     
    AudiophilePhil and Mazzy like this.
  23. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    TOO MANY PEOPLE IN L.A.!!!
     
    I333I likes this.
  24. lightbulb

    lightbulb Forum Resident

    Location:
    Smogville CA USA
    Understood, it just seemed like a waste of retail space to me, as a kid who had no use for such paraphernalia.
    It could just have well have been beer, wine, cigarettes and cigars.

    In perfect hindsight, what may have been more beneficial in the long run for the Record Store chain's survival, at least for a few years more, is to sell used product. (Surely the markup is more profitable than smoking accessories.)8&&@ m

    The Wherehouse tried it as a last gasp - but I think by thise last few years, most customers had already discovered other avenues to purchase CDs, Videos, DVDs. What a shame.
     
  25. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    I get all your comments, but there was time when regular records stores could really not sell used records since it was something that labels strongly discouraged. They wanted nothing to compete with their new product. Something sold where they wouldn't get a cut was a no no.. In fact some labels would withhold product when stores tried this. That changed as the retail record business stated to shrivel.
     
    lightbulb likes this.

Share This Page