Perhaps the lyrics from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” best express the sentiment of those at Tower Records: “Goodbye everybody. I’ve got to go, gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.”
After 46 years in the music retail field, Tower Records stores across the state are covered with “Going out of business” banners. The company, once owned by Russ Soloman, was recently purchased by a liquidation firm called Great American group, which purchased Tower’s assets for $134.3 million.
Tower employees blame the bankruptcy on the advent of huge discount stores like Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy, which can afford to sell CDs at $12.99 or lower compared with Tower’s typical price of $18.99.
It is expected to take up to six weeks to sell the inventory, but the time for closure may vary at different stores. Discounts are at 20 percent and will continue to drop. Naomi Solana, a Tower Records associate of the Davis store at 212 F Street, said the closing is very unexpected and shocking.
Not only are Tower Records’ employees feeling the loss in Davis, but their neighbor, Armadillo records, located across the street is also feeling a bit threatened. Paul Wilbur, the manager at Armadillo, lamented that if people buy their music at the same place they buy their washing machine or curling iron, we will lose our music community and culture. If the decline in music stores continues, music lovers will continue to lose out, Wilbur said.
Even though Tower.com will still be available, there is no talk of Russ Solomon opening up a new store. The space where Tower Records sits in downtown Davis will soon be vacant, giving way to the likes of Wal-Mart and Best Buy.